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Itermn ad hominem rationemque redeamns, ex quo divino dono 
homo animal dictum est ratiojwle, minus enim miranda, etsi mii-anda 
sunt, qvcB de liomine sunt dicta ; sed omnium mirahilivm vincit ad- 
mirationetn, quod homo Divinam potuit invevii-e Naturam, eamque 
efficere. — Mercurii Trismegisti, Asclepius, cap. xiii. 








Movt Celeljiatftr of tl)e 9llci)emiral ^ftilosopftersi 






Iterum ad honiiuem rationemque redeamus, ex quo divino dono homo animal 
dictum est rationale, minus enira miranda, etsi miranda sunt, quso de homine sunt 
dicta ; sed omnium mirabilium viucit admirationem, quod homo Dirinam potuit 
invenire Naturam, earaque eilicere. — Mercurii Trismegisti, Asck'pius, cap. xiii. 







~C1R0M remote Antiquity, and through suc- 
-^ cessive intervals in the higher spheres of 
mind, the tradition of an Art has circulated ; 
but so dark and enigmatical as to evade vulgar 
apprehension entirely and baffle the most acute. 

There is doubtless some temerity in making 
choice of an obsolete subject, and circumstances 
have conspired to render Alchemy above every 
other liable to mistrust ; the transmutation of 
metallic species has seemed impossible, and the 
pretensions of this science in general are at va- 
riance with inductive probability and observed 

But many things have in like manner been 
considered impossible which increasing know- 
ledge has proved true, and others which still to 
common sense appear fictitious were believed 
in former times, when faith was more enlightened 
and the sphere of vision open to surpassing 
effects. Daily observation even now warns us 
against setting limits to nature ; as experiments 
multipl}^ probabilities enlarge in practical life. 


and, like a swelling flood, obliterate the old land- 
marks, as they sweep along rapidly to fulfil their 
destined course. 

Thus truth progresses openly in spite of scep- 
ticism, when her advocates bear witness to- 
gether, and over the mists of error and false 
interests establish her domain. Few, however, 
have a spontaneous disposition to study, and 
many have not acquired the aptitude ; so that 
we frequently observe, where labour of thought 
is a condition, the greatest benefits are slighted 
and prejudicially deferred. The notion of a 
mystery is above all things obnoxious to modern 
taste ; as who will now believe either that there 
has been any truth of importance known which 
is not publicly declared, or worth knowing that 
he cannot understand ? Everypretension of the 
kind has been repudiated, therefore, with all such 
investigations as are not immediately profitable 
and appreciable by common sense. 

In former times ; even when philosophy flou- 
rished in Greece, Egypt, and in Europe, during 
the earlier ages of Christianity, when no pains 
were spared to improve the understanding and 
educate the rational faculties to their utmost 
limit of energy and refinement ; even then the 
study of the Hermetic Science was confined to 
a very few : and though their names still live 
most famous in the history of philosophy, and 


are held in traditionary honour to this day, yet 
the source of their Wisdom, the Art which made 
them great, and good, and memorable, has 
passed into oblivion — the very style has become 
obsolete ; and, but for those lasting theories and 
solemn attestations which they have bequeathed, 
the Experiment of the Causal Nature and its de- 
veloping medium would have been left without 
a clue of retracement, or relic even for surmise. 

Modern Science has hitherto thrown no light 
on the Wisdom of Antiquity ; our discoveries 
have neither added to nor taken any part from 
it — being of another order, and, as it were, of 
another world. No consideration of period or 
place is sufficient to account for the difference ; 
the very ground of human knowledge would 
seem to have changed. 

The philosophy of modern times, more espe- 
cially that of the present day, consists in ex- 
periment and such scientific researches as may 
tend to ameliorate our social condition, or be 
otherwise useful in contributing to the ease and 
indulgences of life ; whereas, in the original ac- 
ceptation, philosophy had quite another sense : 
it signified the Love of Wisdom. And the doc- 
trine of Wisdom, as delivered to us by the 
Hebrew and best Ethnic writers, is in no re- 
spect extrinsical or dependant on externals, but 
professes to be based on Causal Experience, 


obtained by a systematic disciplining and effec- 
tual conversion of the Rational Faculty, up to 
an Intuition of Universal Truth in its own con- 
scious Identity or Self-knowledge. 

Many great and lasting theories have been 
based on this ground, supported by much vene- 
rable testimony and rational evidence ; and, al- 
though variously taught by individuals of the 
different schools, it preserves the same native 
simplicity unchanged, from the remote antiquity 
of Zoroaster and the Jewish Cabal, through 
the enigmas and fables of the Egyptians, the 
Orphic Mysteries and Symbols of Pythagoras, 
up to the more scientific and full development 
of Plato and liis brilliant disciples of the Alex- 
andrian School. 

These continued to regard the human mind as 
an imperfect embryo, separated off" from its an- 
tecedent Law ; and, by this common outbirth into 
individual life, so made subject to the delusions 
of sense and phantasy, as to be incapable of true 
progress or wisdom until it had been rectified 
and re-related, as they assure us, even in this 
world it may be, by certain artificial aids and 
media, and made conformable to the Divine vision 
in truth, whence it sprang. And this was, in 
fact, though Peripatetics have wandered, the true 
initiatory object and comprehending whole of 
ancient philosophy ; namely, to turn the eye of 


mind away from sensibles and fix its purified re- 
gard on the Supreme Intelligible Law within. 

We are well aware that this kind of philo- 
sophy is obsolete ; that the capacity of man is 
considered unequal to the discovery of essential 
Causes ; and that all pretensions to interior illu- 
mination have appeared fanciful, and are lightly 
esteemed in the comparison with modern ex- 
perimental science. It may be a question how- 
ever whether they, who have determined thus, 
were competent judges ; whether they have at 
all entered upon the ground of the ancient doc- 
trine to prove it, or studied so far as even to sur- 
mise the Method by which the ancients were 
assisted to propound the mystery of the Causal 
Principle in life. 

It has been repeatedly shown, and may be 
very evident to those who have considered the 
subject, that our faculties for knowledge, in 
common with the whole human characteristic, 
are by nature imperfect ; and that sensible evi- 
dence fluctuates so with its objects, that we are 
unable to rise above a relative certainty, either 
in respect of those things which are around us 
or of the nature of our own Being. The more we 
reflect, indeed, the less conviction do we meet ; 
since every thing, whether abstract or actual, in 
respect of human reason, is mere phenomenon, 
which, being thus naturally placed alone with- 
out a proper intimate assurance in this life, li- 


mits, rather than confirms, the evidence of the 
senses and other faculties. For the Law of 
lieason is absolute, and demands a satisfaction 
superior to that which sensibles or any thing 
extraneous can offer ; hence the diversities of 
opinion, and the sceptical result, which modern 
metaphysics have ariived at, in the various sys- 
tems of Locke, Hume, Condillac, Kant, and 
others, by different roads ; and, as it were, with- 
out the suspicion, following Reason into her own 
ultimate defect ; as able to prove all things sub- 
jectively inferior, yet wanting the proper objec- 
tive — self-demonstrative ligiit. 

Lord Bacon — perspicuously regarding the ex- 
ternal and internal worlds as divulsed in this way, 
without apparent means of intrinsical reunion, 
and concluding also from the fruitlessness of the 
Aristotelian philosophy (then long since fallen 
off from its original intention, and degenerated 
into a mere metaphysical playground), that the 
inquisition of mind in its fallen state was and 
must for ever remain barren and inconclusive — 
condemned the method ; and, forsaking it en- 
tirely himself, proposed a strictly scientific ex- 
periment of external nature, vigorously hoping 
by such means, and by aid of proceeding induc- 
tion, to penetrate from without the circumfe- 
rential compound of Nature into her Formal 

But how very distant his followers, even at 


this late day, are from such a goal, or from any 
rational idea of carrying experiment at all into 
the central ground, is shown in the strong out- 
working spirit of the age, which, notwithstand- 
ing all its abundance of facts, — dead, living, and 
traditional — has not advanced one step in Causal 
Science. Effects indeed are found to indicate 
their Causes, and so we infer many things, and 
progress externally ; but no one particular of 
nature is the more intrinsically understood ; or, 
as respects ourselves, are we become better or 
wiser from all that has been bequeathed, or ever 
shall be, by such continual experimenting and 
superficial facts accumulated on from henceforth 
to the world's end. 

For, as the author of the Novum Organum, 
in the Preface, himself observes, the edifice of 
this universe is, in its structure, as it were, a la- 
byrinth to the human intellect that contemplates 
it ; where there are many ambiguous ways, de- 
ceptive similitudes of things and signs, oblique 
and complicated windings, and knots of nature's 
everywhere presenting themselves to view ; fur- 
thermore, the senses, as he admits, are fallacious, 
the mind unstable and full of idols ; and all 
things are presented under a glass, and, as it 
were, enchanted. 

If, therefore, the journey is to be made per- 
petually through a labyrinth so obscure and 


difficult, as that which the Chancellor describes, 
under the uncertain light of sense, sometimes 
shining and sometimes hiding itself through and 
in the woods of experience and particulars ; a 
dreary prospect truly is presented, and one 
promising about as little success to the traveller 
as he has actually arrived at now, after the lapse 
of many centuries of persevering toil and expec- 
tation — still, in the same maze of external na- 
ture, dissatisfied and unhappy, amidst the pass- 
ing images of his own outward creation ; without 
a ray of the First Light to guide him into the 
inner courts of a more certain and sublime ex- 

Or how should any stable science arise out 
of the aggregate of particulars ? The common 
analysis of bodies does not discover their unity, 
nor is the most scientific synthesis of heteroge- 
neous atoms found to yield any vital effect. The 
free Spirit of Nature flies before all our destroy- 
ing tests and crucibles ; and, taking refuge in her 
own Identity, subtly eludes the hopes and ac- 
tive efforts of the inductive mind. May not the 
same objection, therefore, equally apply to this 
method of philosophizing as its great advocate 
opposed to the syllogistic sclieme of Aristotle ; 
namely, that it works confusedly, and suffers 
Nature to escape out of our hands ? 

Such being the defective result of natural ex- 


periment, conducted as it ordinarily is through 
the Macrocosm, without the discovery of Hfe ; 
and since the evidence of modern metaphysics, 
attempting to enter theoretically, falls short of 
human faith, and is bounded in this ; may it not 
be worth while to inquire, once more, parti- 
cularly concerning the doctrine of the ancient 
Sages, how their pretensions to superior Wisdom 
were founded, and so practically set forth, from 
the Ontological ground? For it has been ac- 
knowledged by opponents, and must be very 
evident to all, that the discovery of Causes 
would be of all parts of Science the most 
worthy to be sought out, if it were possible to 
be found ; and, as regards the possibility, are 
they not truly said to be ill discoverers that 
conclude there is no land when they can discern 
nothino; but sea ? 

The numerous express declarations that are 
to be met with in those early writers, the 
Greeks especially, that they were not alone 
able, but very generally had passed beyond the 
world of appearances in which we range into 
the full Intuition of Universal Truth, are, to say 
the least, remarkable. The liberal allowance of 
imagination and mere verbiage, which ignorance 
once ascribed to these men, has no doubt de- 
terred many, and may continue to delay ra- 
tional inquiry ; but can never explain away their 


clear language of conviction, or nullify those 
solemn assertions of experieace in the Divine 
Wisdom, and surpassing knowledge, which oc- 
cur, in one form or other, at almost every page 
of their transmitted works. Neither are the 
definitions we gather of this Wisdom so incom- 
plete, or ambiguous, that they can be possibly 
referred to any science or particular relation of 
science, physical or metaphysical, preserved to 
these times. But the Wisdom they celebrate is, 
as we before observed, eminently inverse ; con- 
sisting not in the observation of particulars, 
neither in poljunathy, nor in acuteness of the 
common intellect, nor in the natural order of 
understanding at all ; but in a conscious deve- 
lopment of the Causal Principle of the Uni- 
versal Nature in Man, 

For man, say they, is demonstrated to be an 
epitome of the whole mundane creation, and 
was p-enerated to become wise above all terres- 
trial animals ; being endowed, besides those 
powers which he commonly exerts, and by 
means of which he is able to contemplate the 
thino^s which exist around him, with the germ 
of a higher faculty, which, when rightly de- 
veloped and set apart, reveals the hidden Forms 
of manifested Being, and secrets of the Causal 
Fountain, identically within himself. Nor this 
alone ; not only is man reputed able to (lis- 


cover the Divine Nature, but, in the forcible 
language of the Asclepian Dialogue, to effect 
It ; and in this sense, namely, with respect to 
the Cathohc Reason which is latent in his life, 
man was once said to be the Image of God. 

It appears, moreover, those ancients were not 
enlightened on the a priori ground alone, but 
the same power of Wisdom was confirmed in 
external operation, in many surpassing effects of 
spiritual chemistry, and in the asserted miracle 
of the Philosopher's Stone. And here, though 
it has seemed a stumbling-block to unbelievers, 
and we anticipate for our advocacy the utmost 
scorn ; yet, with this theosophic doctrine of 
Wisdom, the tradition of Alchemy runs hand 
in hand. It is this which, occultly permeating 
throughout, gives substance to the transcen- 
dental theme, and meaning to the subtle disqui- 
sitions of the middle ages — this it was which 
filled the acute intellect of that period with ar- 
dour and admiration. It was this which inspired 
Albertus Magnus, Aquinas, Roger Bacon, the 
fiery Lully, and his preceptor Arnold di Villa- 
Nova, Ficinus, Picus di Mirandola, Spinoza, 
Reuchlin, the Abbot Trithemius, Cornelius 
Agrippa, and all the subsequent Paracelsian 
School. It is this which, under another title, 
Plato celebrates as the most efficacious of all 
arts, calling it Theurgy and the worship of the 


Others, in hope that our suggestive advocacy 
may either receive confutation, if erroneous ; or 
become estabhshecl in the result. That the 
subject is worthy of investigation from the 
highest order of minds, we feel no hesitation in 
affirming ; to them it has always proved at- 
tractive ; for reason, perceiving effects, desires 
to know causes, and is rarely incredulous in the 

It is especially towards the analysis of this 
Causal Experiment, therefore, that the present 
Inquiry is directed, as being in due order to 
begin with, the foundation of that luminous 
fabric of Wisdom which we shall endeavour 
practically, and for the discovery's sake, to 
depict. For since Ontology is despaired of 
by modern metaphysics, and reason is unable 
in this life to substantiate its own inference — 
although clearh^ perceiving the Antecedent ne- 
cessity, it cannot pass into an absolute con- 
sciousness of the same ; — if, therefore, the sub- 
lime capability, above referred to, yet subsists in 
man and is really educible, it must be under 
the guidance of another Method and by the 
revelation of another Law. What was the Ex- 
periment which led our fathers into experience 
and self-knowledge in the Divine Antecedent of 
all life ? This we desire to learn ; and, for the 
sake of the liberal and sincere lovers of truth, 


now offer the guidance by which we have our- 
selves been led along, pleasurably and with 
satisfaction, to explore the mystic laboratory of 
creative Light ; opening a way also by which 
they may be enabled fully to co-operate and 
follow Art into the living sanctuary of Nature. 

If some particulars should seem obscure in 
the early introduction, as it is indeed difficult to 
unfold things so far out of the way of ordinary 
thought, we hope not to be judged rashly, but 
after a fair consideration of the whole. In 
tracing the Hermetic tradition through many 
venerable sources, it has been our endeavour, as 
plainly and practically as the nature of the 
matter would permit, to explain the occult 
ground, and, by the help of theory supporting 
evidence, to persuade the studious that the Art 
of Alchemy, as it was anciently practtised in the 
East, in the Egyptian temples, amongst the He- 
brews and Early Greek Nations, and by the 
Mystics of the Middle Ages, was a true Art; 
and that the Stone of Philosophers is not a 
chimera, as it has been represented in the world 
to be ; but the wonderful offspring of a Vital 
Experiment into Nature, the true foundation of 
Ancient Wisdom and her supernatural fruit. 

What, if our subject be the world's ridicule ; 
and its professors rank with the ignorant as in- 
sane or impostors ? In choosing it popularity 


was not the motive ; but we have written for the 
Truth's sake and for the Hberal inquirer, from 
whom alone we may anticipate either credit or 
favour; and if we succeed only in drawing a very 
few discerning intellects aside from the broad 
stream of popular dereliction, by the light of 
Ancient Wisdom into its faith, the undertaking 
will not prove ungrateful, or have been con- 
cluded in vain. 

" I biiW not sfocare to maite gou g{fa£ crcticnce, 
23ut a pf)2losopi)er maff f)crc finUc an £bil3£nce 
Of i\)z tretotf) ; anlJ for men tl)at be lag 
31 skill not grcatlji to^at tjbtg sag." 




CHAPTER I. — A Preliminary Account of the 
Hermetic Philosophy, with the more salient 
POINTS OF its Public History — gathered from 
the best extant Authorities, with notices of the 
works of various writers, ancient and modern, in 
succession, on the subject of Alchemy — their 
evidence in support of the art of gold-making 
and transmutation. — Page 3. 

CHAPTER II. — Of the Theory of Transmutation 


the true basis on which the rational possibility 
of Transmutation rests ; with Definitions from 
Albertus Magnus, Aquinas, Friar Bacon, Ray- 
mond Lully, Arnold Di-Villa-Nova, Synesius and 
others, descriptive of the Hermetic Material — 
with some suggestions additional concerning the 
Ethereal Nature and analogous phenomena of 
Light. — Page 68. 

CHAPTER III. — The Golden Treatise of Hermes 
Trismegistus concerning the Physical Secret 
of the Philosopher's Stone, in Seven Sec- 
tions — esteemed one of the best and oldest 
pieces of Alchemical Philosophy extant ; com- 


prising, in epitome, the whole Art and secret 
method of the confection — to which some eluci- 
datory annotations are added from the Scholium 

and elsewhere. — Page 99. 



CHAPTER I. — Of the True Subject of the Her- 
metic Art and its Concealed Root — opening, 
by way of evidence, the Alchemical Laboratory 
and only vessel which the Adepts employed to 
sublime the universal Spirit of Nature and con- 
centrate her Light — how, when, and where the 
Spirit may be arrested, introverted in the circula- 
tion, and brought forth from immanifest being 
into power and act, leading on from thence to- 
wards an outline of the Hermetic Art. — Page 135. 

CHAPTER II. — Of the Mysteries — beginning from 
the early initiations, to show the imperfection of 
the natural life and understanding — the artificial 
means and media employed by the ancients to 
rectify these — connecting together Alchemy and 
Mesmerism, also, with those preliminary Rites. — 
Page 171. 

CHAPTER III. — The Mysteries continued — 
which indicate the gi'eater ordeals and disciplines 
which the vital Spirit is made to pass through in 
the progress of a physical regeneration by art, 
from out the sensual dominion of the Selfhood, 


through a temporary death and annihilation to a 
new life and consciousness. — Page 191. 

CHAPTER IV.— The Mysteries concluded— with 
a view of the ultimate object of these initiations 
to prove the perfection, purity, and integral ef- 
ficiency to which the human spirit may arrive by 
divine assimilation coming in vital contact with 
its Source. — Page 220. 



CHAPTER I. — Of the Experimental Method and 
Fermentation of the Philosophic Subject ac- 
cording to the Paracelsian Alchemists and 
some others — whereby the Principles of the 
Art are yet more intimately unfolded, and the 
methodical order in which the experiment was 
conducted to discover that hidden Light which is 
the specific Form of Gold — how to educate this 
and multiply it by the ethereal conception until it is 
made concrete and substantially brought forth. — 
Page 255. 

CHAPTER II. — A further Analysis of the Initial 
Principle and its Eduction into Light — com- 
prising the Metaphysics of the Matter ; gathered 
more particularly from the Greek Ontologists and 
Cabalists, to show the progress of the conscious- 
ness through the various stages of purification 
and dissolution until the rectified ferment, over- 
whelming, becomes established in life. — Page 305. 


CHAPTER III. — Of the Manifestation of the 
Philosophic Matter — exhibiting how, when, 
and where the invisible Spirit of Nature is by Art 
made visible and brought through a vital distil- 
lation into substantive effect — with power and 
will to transfuse its luminous aurific virtue and 
draw the universal life of Nature to its homo- 
geneal accord. — Page 349. 

CHAPTER IV.— Of the Mental Requisites and 
Impediments incidental to Individuals, either 
AS Masters or Students, in the Hermetic Art 
— to which are added various ])ractical instruc- 
tions concerning the means and instruments that 
have to be arranged and called together in fur- 
therance of this undertaking, the quahfications of 
external circumstances and accordances of fitting 
seasons and places for operation. — Page 393. 



CHAPTER I. — Of the Vital Purification, com- 
monly called the Gross AVork — which de- 
velopes the actual mode of operation practised by 
the Ancients, and mechanic means employed to 
dissolve the vital compound and eradicate the 
inbred evil of life — the mode of rational investiga- 
tion likewise by which the Spirit is induced to 
vield up her light and hidden virtue to increase 
it.— Page 429. 

CHAPTER II. — Of the Philosophic or Subtle 
Work — which affords, by a theoretic conduct, 


suggestions amply leading to a practical under- 
standing of the most abstruse secret of the Her- 
metic philosophy, showing the Trinitarian method 
of operation which Reason follows recreatively 
for the verification of her light to discover, mag- 
nify, and know the Causal Nature transitively in 
being and in imaged manifestation. — Page 455. 

CHAPTER HI.— The Six Keys of Eudoxus— 
leading into the most secret Philosophy of the 
Multiplication and Projection, Rewards and Po- 
tencies, Nature, Properties, Analogies, and Ap- 
pliances of the Philosopher's Stone. — Page 474. 

CHAPTER IV. — The Conclusion — in summary of 
the whole, comparing this Philosophy, its me- 
thod, relations, and ultimate promise, with those 
of more modern acceptation and repute. — Page 

Tlie superintendence of the Press havinor been defective in several 
classical quotations, the Author subjoins the following more promi- 
nent errata : — 

Page 7, line 8,/o?' omni, read omnes. 

13, /oi' igni, o-ead igne. 

1\,for operatione, read de operatione. 
12, 4, for miracula read miraculi. 

14, 11, read Secreta Ser^retorum. 
29, 40, /or hunc rmd tunc. 
34, Zl,f<jret,read50. 
42, 33, read Lc Grand Eclaircissement. 
45, i>for seem, read serve. 

69, 20, for trausmutatur, read transmutantur. 

70, IS, for carissima j'ead carissime. 
26, for reducatur read reducantur. 
41, read species sive formas. 

45, for materiam read materia. 

71 , 1, for vera, read veras, and aliam for alium. 
74, 12, for inter, read intus. 

76, 9, for igne, read ignea. 

88, IS, for omnis, read omnes. 

104, 28, for dieri, read diei. 

137, 34, /or Marien read Monen. 

138, 16, for re, read res. 
155, 11, omit with. 

30, /or support,re«(? rajjport. 
172, 24, /or La Planche, read La Pluche. 
179, 30, for become, 7'ead became. 
184, iO, for regimine, read regiminis. 

189, 7, for conjunctam, read conjunctum. 

190, 14, for my, read by. 

17, for rejoins, read regains. 

30, for landaveris, read laudaverit. 
192, 4, /or philosophica, read philosophic!. 

195, 15, insert naturam after habens. 

198, 4, for ipse, 7-ead ips£e. 

13, for limine, read lumina. 

19, for movere, read moveri. 

21, for dea, read dei. 

23, /or Cecropiam, read Cecropium. 

199, note for Oracula, read Oraculis. 
201, line 6, for vaala., read m&lse. 

221, 24, for northern, -read southern. 

223, 17, for Olympicus, read Olympicos. 

229, 29, for diaphonous, read diaphanous. 

231, 1, /or fo, ?-eatZ of. 

232, 7, for epaptenomen, irad epopteuomen. 

24S, 38, 7-ead Cunctarumque patrem rerum spectare licebit. 
278, 37, for inanimje, read inamoenae. 

Page 297, line 16, insert alne a/Ztr ejiisque, and read salum for solum. 
308, l,/(ir sequentur, read sc<\ueiiter. 

315, note for Mundura, read Mundi. 
31(3, VmelZjfdr divini, read divinx. 
317, 18, for varie, read vari«. 

21, for utque, 7-ead atque. 

23, for omnis, read omnes. 
352, 17, read raotum in te experieris internum. 
361, 21, for seated, read sealed. 
363, 27, for fiunt, read fiant. 
367, 36, read one only night. 

434, i,for dedeat, read tjedeat. 

435, 8, for motionem, read amotioncni. 
465, 18, for eum, 7-ead cum. 

471, 37, I'ead eritque in te cum iumine ignis, cum igne ventus, &c. 
493, 38, for which, read what. 
509, IS, for ilium, read illara. 









A P reliminary Account of the Hermetic Philosophy, 
with the more salient Points of its Public History. 

THE Hermetic tradition opens early with the morn- 
ing dawn of philosophy in the eastern world. All 
pertaining thereto is romantic and mystical. Its monu- 
ments, emblems, and numerous written records, alike 
dark and enigmatical, form one of the most remark- 
able episodes in the history of the human mind. A 
hard task were it indeed and almost infinite to discuss 
every particular that has been presented by individuals 
concerning the art of Alchemy ; and as difficult to fix 
with certainty the origin of a science which has been suc- 
cessively attributed to Adam, Noah and his son Cham, 
to Solomon, Zoroaster, and the Egyptian Hermes. 
Nor, fortunately, does this obscurity concern us much 
in an inquiry which rather relates to the means and 
principles of occult science than to the period and 
place of their reputed discovery. Nothing, perhaps, is 
less worthy or more calculated to distract the mind from 
points of real importance than this very question of 
temporal origin, which, when we have taken all pains 
to satisfy and remember, leaves us no wiser in reality 
than we were before. What signifies it, for instance, 
that we attribute letters to Cadmus, or trace oracles 
to Zoroaster, or the Cabbal to Moses, the Eleusinian 
mysteries to Orpheus, or free-masonry to Noah ; whilst 

/B 2 

4 Exoteric View. 

we are profoundly ignorant of the nature and true be- 
ginning of any one of these things, and observe not 
how truth, being everywhere eternal, does there always 
originate where it is understood? 

We do not delay, therefore, to ascertain, even were 
it possible, whether the Hermetic science was indeed 
preserved to mankind on the Syriadic pillars after the 
flood, or whether Egypt or Palestine may lay equal 
claims to the same ; or, whether in truth that Sma- 
ragdine table, whose singular inscription has been 
transmitted to this day, is attributable to Hermes or to 
any other name. It may suffice the present need to 
accept the general assertion of its advocates, and con- 
sider Alchemy as an antique artifice coeval, for aught 
we know to the contrary, with the universe itself 
For although attempts have been made, as by Herman 
Conringius,^ to slight it as recent invention, and it 
is also true that, by a singularly envious fate, nearly 
all Egyptian record of the art has perished ; yet we 
find the original evidence contained in the works of 
A. Kircher,'^ the learned Dane Olaus Borrichius,^ and 
Robert Vallensis in the first volume of the Theatrum 
Chemicum,^ more than sufficient to balance every ob- 
jection of this kind, besides ample collateral probabi- 
lity bequeathed in the best Greek authors, historical 
and philosophic. 

In order to show that the propositions we may here- 
after have occasion to offer are not gratuitous, as also 
with better effect to introduce a stranger subject, it 
will be requisite to run through a brief account of the 
Alchemical philosophers, with the literature and public 
evidence of their science ; the more so, as no one of 
the many histories of philosophy compiled or trans- 
lated into our language, advert to it in such a manner 

^ De Hermetica ^gyptior. vetere et Paracelsicor. Nova Me- 

^ G^^dipus .^gyptiacus. Idem, do Lapide Philos. Dissert. 

2 De Ortu et Progressu Chemise. Idem, yEgyptior. et Chemicor. 
Sapientia, ab H. Conringii Animad. vindic. 

■* De Veritate et Antiquitate Artis Cliemiae. 

Preliminary Account. 5 

as, considering the powerful and wide-spread influence 
this branch formerly exercised on the human mind, it 
certainly appears to deserve. 

This once famous Art, then, has been represented 
both as giving titles and receiving them from its mo- 
ther land, Cham ; for so, during a long period, accord- 
ing to Plutarch, was Egypt denominated, or Chemia, 
on account of the extreme blackness of her soil: — or, 
as others say, because it was there that the art of 
Vulcan was first practised by Cham, one of the sons 
of the Patriarch, from whom they thus derive the 
name and art together. But by the word Chemia, says 
Plutarch, the seeing pupil of the human eye was also 
designated, and other black matters, whence in part 
perhaps Alchemy, so obscurely descended, has been 
likewise stigmatized as a Black Art.^ 

Etymological research has doubtless proved useful 
in leading on and corroborating truths once suggested, 
but it is not a way of first discovery ; derivations may 
be too easily conformed to any bias, and words do not 
convey true ideas unless their proper leader be previ- 
ously entertained. Without being able now, therefore, 
to determine whether the art gave or received a title 
from Cham, the Persian prince Alchimin, as others 
have contended, or that dark Egyptian earth ; to take 
a point of time, we may begin the Hermetic story from 
Hermes, by the Greeks called Trismegistus, Egypt's 
great and far-reputed adeptist king, who, according to 
Suidas, lived before the time of the Pharoes, about 
four hundred years previous to Moses, or, as others 
compute, about 1900 before the Christian era.^ 

This prince, like Solomon, is highly celebrated by 
antiquity for his wisdom and skill in the secret opera- 
tions of nature, and for his reputed discovery of the 
quintessential perfectibility of the three kingdoms in 
their homogeneal unity ; whence he is called the Thrice 

^ See Platarcli de Iside et Osiride, sub init., and Bryant's 
Analysis of Ancient Mytliology, vol. ii. 

^ See Suidas de Yerbo Cbemeia, " Credo Mercurium Trisme- 
gistum, sapientem ^gyptium, floruisse ante Pharaonem," &c. 

6 Exoteric View. 

Great Hermes, having the spiritual inteUigence of all 
things in their universal law.^ 

It is to be lamented that no one of the many books 
attributed to him, and which are named in detail by 
Clemens Alexandrinus, escaped the destroying hand of 
Dioclesian;^ more particularly if we judge them, as 
Jamblicus assures us we may, by those Asclepian Dia- 
logues and the Divine Pcemander, which yet pass cur- 
rent under the name of Hermes.^ Both are preserved 
in the Latin of Ficinus, and have been well translated 
into our language by Dr. Everard. The latter, though 
a small work, surpasses most that are extant for subli- 
mity of doctrine and expression : its verses flow forth 
eloquent, as it were, from the fountain of nature, 
instinct with intelligence ; such as might be more 
efficacious to move the rational sceptic off from his 
negative ground into the happier regions of intelligible 
reality, than many theological discourses which, of a 
lower grade of comprehension, are unable to make 
this highly affirmative yet intellectual stand. But the 
subjects treated of in the books of the Pcemander and 
Asclepias are theosophic and ultimate, and denote 
rather our divine capabilities and promise of regenera- 
tion than the physical ground of either ; this, with the 
practical method of alchemy being further given in the 
Tractatus Aureus, or Golden Treatise, an admirable 
relic, consisting of seven chapters, attributed to the 
same author.'* The Smaragdine Table, which, in its 
few enigmatical but remarkable lines, is said to com- 

' See TertuUianus de Anima, cap. ii. adversua Valentinianus, 
cap XV. Hermetem vocat Physicorum Magistrum. 

- Chimia est auri et argenti confectio, cujus libros Diocle- 
sianus perquisites exussit eo quod Egyptii res uovas contra Dio- 
clesianum moliti fuerant, duriter atque hostiliter eos tractavit. Quo 
tempore etiam libros de chimia, auri et argenti a veteribus cou- 
scriptos, conquisivit et exussit, ne deiuceps Egyptiis divitiae ex- 
fluentia contisi in posterum E.omanis rebellarent. (Suidas in Yerbo 

^ See Jamblicus de Mysteriis, sect. viii. cap. iv. &c. 

^ Hermetis Trismegisti Tractatus Aureus de Lapidis physici 

Preliminary Account. 7 

prehend the working principle and total subject of the 
art, we here subjoin : from the original Arabic and 
Greek copies, it has been rendered into Latin by 
Kircher as follows : — 


Verum sine mendacio certum et verissimum ; quod est superius est 
sicut quod est inferius ; et quod est mferius est sicut quod est supe- / ^ 

rius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius : et sicut omn\ res fuerunt /-^-^ 
ah uno, mediatione unius, sic otnnes res notce fuerunt ab hdc und re / 
adaptatione. Pater ejus Sol est, mater vera Luna ; portavit id 
ventiis in ventre suo, nutrix ejus terra est ; pater omnis telesmi, sive 
consummatio totius mundi est hie. Vis ejus integra est si versa I 
fuerit in terram. Sepai'abis terrain ab igr^,^ subtile a spisso, suavi- /"^ 
ter cum multo ingenio ; asceridit a terra in coelum, iterumque descen- 
dit i7i terram, recipifque vim superiorum et inferiorum. Sic habebis 
gloriam totius mundi, ideb fugit a te omnis obscuritas ; hie est totius 
fortitudinis fortis, qui vincet omnem rem subtilem omnemque solidam 
penetrabit. Sicut mundus creatus est. Hinc erunt adaptationes 
mirabiles quarum modus est hie. Itaque vocatus sum Hermes Tris- 
megistus, habens ires partes fhilosophice totius mundi. Completum 
est quod dixi operatione Solis. 

We shall have occasion to revert to this tablet and 
its apphcability hereafter, when we come to a particular 
examination of the philosophic subject in its active 
and passive relations, and the intimate mystery of 
those Hermetic luminaries in conjunction. The in- 
scription may be thus rendered. 


True, without error, certain and most true; that which is above 
is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is 
above, for performing the miracles of the One Thing ; and as all 
things were from one, by the mediation of one, so all things arose 
from this one thing by adaptation ; the father of it is the Sun, the 
mother of it is the Moon ; the wind carried it in its belly ; the 
nurse thereof is the earth. This is the father of all perfection, or 
consummation of the whole world. The power of it is integral, if 
it be turned into earth. Thou shall separate the earth from the Jire, 
the subtle from the gross, gently with much sagacity ; it ascends 
from earth to heaven, and again decends to earth : and receives the 
strength of the superiors and of the inferiors— so thou hast the 
glory of the whole world ; therefore let all obscurity fee before 
thee. This is the strong fortitude of all fortitudes, overcoming 



8 Exoteric View. 

every subtle and penetrating every solid thing. So the world wag 
created. Hence were all wonderful adaptations of which this is 
the manner. Therefore am I called Thrice Great Hermes, having 
the Three Parts of the philosophy of the xohole world. That 
which I have written is consummate^ concerning the operation of 
the Sun. 

This Emerald Table, unique and authentic as it may 
be regarded, is all that remains to us from Egypt of 
her Sacred Art. A few riddles and fables, all more or 
less imperfect, that were preserved by the Greeks, and 
some inscrutable hieroglyphics are still to be found 
quoted in certain of the alchemical records : but the 
originals are entirely swept away. And — duly con- 
sidering all that is related by the chroniclers of that 
ancient dynasty, her amazing reputation for power, 
wealth, wisdom, and magic skill ; — and, even when all 
these had faded, when Herodotus visited the city, after 
the priestly government of the Pharoes had been over- 
thrown by Cambyses, and that savage conqueror had 
burned the temples and almost annihilated the sacer- 
dotal order, — after the influx of strangers had been 
permitted, and civil war had raged almost to the ful- 
filment of the Asclepian prophecy, — the wonders then 
recorded by the historian of her remaining splendour 
and magnificence ; — what shall we now conclude, 
when, after the lapse of so many more destroying ages, 
we review the yet mightily surviving witnesses of so 
much glory, surpassing and gigantic even in the last 
stage of their decay? Shall we suppose the ancient 
accounts fallacious because they are too wonderful to 
be conceived ; or have we not now present before our 
eyes the plain evidence of lost science and the vestiges 
of an intelHgence superior to our own ? For what did 
the nations flock to Memphis ? For what did Pytha- 
goras, Thales, Democritus, and Plato become im- 
mured there for several solitary years, but to be initi- 
ated in the wisdom and learning of those Egyptians ? 
For what else, but for the knowledge of that mighty 
Art with which she arose, governed, and dazzled the 
whole cotemporary world ; holding in strong abeyance 

Preliminary Account. 9 

the ignorant, profane vulgar, until the evil day of 
desolation came with self-abuse, when, neglecting to 
obey the law by which she governed, all fell, as was 
foretold, and sinking gradually deeper in crime and 
presumption, was at last annihilated, and every sacred 
institution violated by barbarians, and despoiled ? 
"Oh, Egypt! Egypt! Fables alone shall remain of 
thy religion, and these such as will be incredible to 
posterity, and words alone shall be left engraved in 
stones narrating thy pious deeds. The Scythian also, 
or Indian, or some other similar nation, shall inhabit 
Egypt. For divinity shall return to heaven, all its 
inhabitants shall die, and thus Egypt bereft both of 
God and man shall be deserted. Why do you weep, 
O Asclepias ? Egypt shall experience yet more ample 
evils ; she was once holy, and the greatest lover of the 
gods on earth, by the desert of her religion. And she, 
who was alone the reductor of sanctity and the mis- 
tress of piety, will be an example of the greatest 
cruelty. And darkness shall be preferred to light, 
and death shall be judged to be more useful than life. 
No one shall look up to heaven. The religious man 
shall be counted insane ; the irreligious shall be 
thought wise ; the furious, brave ; and the worst of 
men shall be considered good. For the soul, and all 
things about it, by which it is either naturally im- 
mortal, or conceives it shall attain to immortality, con- 
formably to what I have explained to you, shall not 
only be the subjects of laughter, but shall be con- 
sidered as vanity. Believe me, likewise, that a capital 
punishment shall be appointed for him who applies 
himself to the Religion of Intellect. New statutes and 
new laws shall be established, and nothing religious, 
or which is worthy of heaven or celestial concerns, 
shall be heard or believed in by the mind. Every 
divine voice shall, by a necessary silence, be dumb : 
the fruits of the earth shall be corrupted ; and the air 
itself shall languish with a sorrowful stupor. These 
events, and such an old age of the world as this, shall 

10 Exoteric View. 

take place — such irreligion, iiiordination, and unsea- 
sonableness of all good."' 

Such is the substance of a prediction which, as it 
was supposed to have reference to the Christian era, 
has been abused and reputed a forgery by the faithless 
learned of modern times. It is, however, difficult to 
conceive why it should have been considered so ob- 
noxious, for the early history of Christianity certainly 
does not fulfil it ; it was a falhng off from Divinity 
that w^as predicted, and not such a revival as took 
place upon the teaching of Jesus Christ and his apos- 
tles. At that period philosophy too flourished, and 
the Spirit of the Word w'as potent in faith to heal and 
save. If the prediction had been a forgery of Apuleius, 
or other cotemporary opponent of Christianity, the 
early fathers must have known it, which they did not as 
is plain from Lactantius, and St. Augustin mentioning, 
without expressing any doubt about its authenticity ; 
and though the latter (then adopting probably the 
popular notion) esteemed it instinctu fallacis spiritus,^ 
he might subsequently perhaps have thought other- 
wise, had he lived so long. Christianity was yet in 
his time glowing, bright, and efficacious, from the 
Divine Fountain ; faith was then grounded in reality 
and living operation, and the mystery of human re- 
generation, so zealously proclaimed, was also rationally 
understood. The fulfilment, with respect to Egypt, 
appears to have taken place in part long previously, 
and in part to have been reserved to later times, w4ien 
sacred mysteries, too openly exposed to the multitude, 
became perverted and vilified by their abuse. 

But this prophecy carries us out of all order of 
time : it will be necessary, in tracing the progress of 
our science, to pass again to Egypt. The period of 
her true greatness is, as is well known, shrouded in 

1 From the Asclepian Dialogue of llermcs, by Ficmus, as ren- 
dered by T. Taylor. 

2 Sec Taylor's notes to the Prophecy, in Plotinus' Select Works, 
at the end, p. 557, &c. 

Preliminary Account. 11 

oblivion ; but, during the succession of the Ptolemies, 
the influx of strangers, so long before successfally 
prohibited, became excessive : her internal peace was 
destroyed, but her Art and Wisdom spread abroad with 
her renown : foreigners obtained initiation into the 
Mysteries of Isis ; and India, Arabia, China, and 
Persia vied with her and with each otlier in magian 
skill and prowess. 

Pliny informs us that it was Ostanes, the Persian 
sage accompanying the army of Xerxes, who first 
inoculated Greece with the portentous spirit of his 
nation.^ Subsequently the Greek Philosophers, both 
young and old, despising the minor religion of their 
own country, became anxious to visit the eastern tem- 
ples, and that of Memphis above all, in order to obtain 
a verification of those hopes to which a previous spirit 
of inquiry and this new excitement had abundantly 
given rise. 

Amongst the earliest mentioned of these, after Thales, 
Pythagoras, and a few others, whose writings are lost, 
is Democritus of Abdera, who has been frequently 
styled the father of experimental philosophy, and who, 
in his book of Sacred Physics, treats especially of 
the Hermetic art, and that occult discovery on which 
the systems of ancient philosophy appear to have been 
very uniformly based. ^ Of this valuable piece there 
are said to be several extant editions, and Synesius has 
added to it the light of a commentary.^ Nicholas 
Flammel also, of more recent notoriety, has given ex- 
tracts from the same at the conclusion of a very 
instructive work."* That its authenticity should have 
been disputed by the ignorant is not wonderful ; but 
the ancients are nowhere found to doubt about it. 
Pliny bears witness to the experimental fame of De- 

^ De Ostane Magno, vide Plinium, Histor. Nat. lib. xxx. cap. i. 

2 Democriti Abderitae de Arte Sacra, sive de rebus naturali- 
bus et mysticis libellus, ex veneraudae Gr^ecae vetustatis de Arte 
Chimica reliquiis erutus. 

^ Synesius in Democritum Abderitam de Arte Sacra. 

"* Flammelli Summario Philosophico. 

12 Exoteric View. 

mocritus, and his skill in the occult sciences and prac- 
tice of them, both in his native city of Abdera and 
' / afterwards at Athens, when Socrates was teaching 
<^ there. Plenum miracul$( et hoc pariter utrasque artes 

/ effloruisse, medicinam dico, magiciemque eadem setate, 

' illam Hippocrate banc Democrito illustrantibus, &cJ 

Seneca also mentions his artificial confection of pre- 
cious stones ;^ and it is said that he spent all his 
leisure, after his return home, in these and such-like 
physico-chemical researches.^ 

During the sojourn of Democritus at Memphis, he 
is said to have become associated in his studies with 
a Hebrew woman named Maria, remarkable at that 
period for the advances she had made in philosophy, 
and particularly in the department of the Hermetic art. 
A treatise entitled Sapientissima Maria de Lapide 
Philosophica PrcEscripta is extant ; also j\Jaria Prac- 
tica, a singularly excellent and esteemed fragment, 
which is preserved in the alchemical collections.^ 

But amongst the Greeks, next Democritus, Anax- 
agoras is celebrated as an alchemist. The remains of 
his writings are unfortunately scanty, and even those 
to be found in manuscript only, with exception of 
some fragments which have been accidentally trans- 
lated. From these, however, we are led to infer 
favourably of the general character of his expositions, 
which Norton, our countryman, also, in the Proheme 
to his quaint Ordinal of Alchemy, lauds, thus holding 

' Hist. Nat. lib. xxx. cap i. 

^ Epistola, xci. 

^ Petronius Arbitt'r in Satyrico. 

^ Democriti Abderitas physici philosophi praeclarum iiomeu ; 
hie ab Ostane Medo, ab ejus fevi Persarum Eegibus sacroriini 
praefecturse causa in Egypto misso, sacris litteris initiatur et 
imbuitur, in Memphis fano inter sacerdotes et philosophos, quae- 
dam Hebraea, omni disciplinam genere excultu, et Paminenes. De 
auro et argento et lapidibus et purpura, sennone per ambages 
composite scripsit, quo dicendi genere usa est etiam Maria. Ve- 
rum lii quidem Democritus et Maria quod enigmatibus plurimis 
et eruditus artem occultassent huidati sunt : Pammeues quod 
abunde et aperte scripsisset vituperatus est. (Syncellus, Chrono- 
graphia, p. 248). 

Preliminary Account, 13 

him up in excellent comparison with the envious 
writers of his age. 

^ All masters ttat write of this solemn werke, 
Have made their bokes to manie men fuU derke, 
In poysies, parables, and in metaphors alsoe, 
Which to schollors eauseth peine and woe ; 
For in their practise when they woidd assaye 
They leefe their costs, as men see alle daye. 
Hermes, Easis, Geber, and Aviceu, 
Merlin, Hortolan, Democi'it and Morien, 
Bacon and Eaymond with many moe 
"Wrote under coverts and Aristotle alsoe. 
For what hereof they wrote cleare with their pen, 
Their clouded clauses dulled ; fro manie men 
Fro laymen, fro clerks, and soe fro every man 
They hid this art that noe man find it can. 
By their bokes thei do shew reasons faire, 
Whereby much people are brought to despaire : 
Tet Anaxagoras wrote plainest of them all 
In his boke of Conversions Naturall ; 
Of the old Fatliers that ever I founde, 
He most discloses of this science the grounde ; 
Whereof Aristotle had great envy. 
And him rebuked unrightfully, 
In manie places, as I can well report, 
Intending that men shoidd not to him resort, 
For he was large of his cunnyng and love, 
God have his soul in bliss above ; 
And such as sowed envious seede 
God forgive them for their mis-deede,^ 

Aristotle is much blamed by Adepts in general for 
the manner in which he has not only veiled the know- 
ledge which he secretly possessed, but also for having 
wilfully, as they complain, led mankind astray from 
the path of true experiment. We hesitate to judge 
this question, since, however much the barrenness of 
his philosophy may be deplored, it appears improbable 
that any philosopher, much less one who took so 
much pains as Aristotle, should designedly labour to 
deceive mankind. His idea was peculiar and appears in 
itself just. He blames his predecessors for the various 
and contradictory positions they had made in philoso- 

1 See Norton's Ordinal in Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum 
Britannicum, p. 8. 

14 Exoteric View. 

phising ; i. t. apparently contradictory, as respects 
their language taken in a literal sense ; for he never 
quarrels with their true meaning, and carefully avoids 
disputing their general ground. His metaphysips in- 
deed, which are the natural touchstone of his whole 
system, diifer in no one fundamental respect or par- 
ticular that is essential from those of Anaxagoras, 
Plato, and Heraclitus. Certain epistles to Alexander 
/> the Great on the philosopher's stone, attributed to 
fy ^fit^ Aristotle, are preserved in the fifth volume of the 
J<^^ ^ Theatrum Chemicinti ; and the 'See^^^&ttm-^iSe^frfhmna 
J^o^ is generally acknowledged to be authentic. In the 
Jj<^'^ book of Meteors also a clearer intelligence of intrinsic 

causes is evinced than may be apparent to the com- 
mon eye.^ 

But the whole philosophy of Plato is hyperphysical ; 
the Pheedrus, Philebus, and seventh book of Laws, 
the beautiful and subhme Parmenides, the Ph?edo, 
Banquet, and Timeas have long been admired by the 
studious without being understood ; a mystic sem- 
blance pervades the whole, and recondite allusions 
baffle the pursuit of sense and ordinary imagination. 
Yet the philosopher speaks more familiarly in his Epis- 
tles; — and if the correspondence with Dionysius of 
Syracuse had concerned moral philosophy only and the 
abstract relations of mind, why such dread as is there 
expressed about setting the truth to paper ? But the 
science which drew the tyrant to the philosopher was 
more probably practical and profitably interesting than 
abstracts would appear to be to such a mind. " Indeed, 

^ See lib. iii. cap. 15. Ubi, inter alia, dicit, inetalla fieri ex 
aqueo halitu et sicca exbalatione, qua; sunt argentum et sulphur. 
Metalla autem omnia, ut ad rem redeam, fiunt ex una eademque 
materia propinqua, utpote ex argento vivo et sulphure, quod 
omnes asserunt. Difierent tamen forma id est puritate et coc- 
tione seu digestioue. Spoliatio vero accidentium, vel formanim ip- 
sarum essentialiam corruptio et aliarum introductio, possibilis est, 
et in liabentibus symbolum facilis est transitus, ut circularis est 
generatio elementorum, ita et metallorum ex se invicem. Which 
universal principle of transmutation, thus indicated by Aristotle, 
Hermes, Albertus Magnus, and the rest of the alchemists assert. 
See also Aristotelis de Lapide ad Alexandrum Magnum ; Theat. 
Cliem. vol. V. 

Preliminary Account. 15 

,0 son of Dionysius and Doris, this your inquiry eon- 
^cerning the- courno of all beautiful things is endued with 
a certain quality, or rather it is a parturition respect- 
ing this ingenerated in the soul, from which he who 
is not liberated will never in reality acquire truth. "^ 
Wisdom must be sought for her own sake, neither 
for gold or silver or any intermediate benefit, lest 
these all should be denied together without the dis- 
covery of their source. There is a treatise on the 
philosopher's stone in the fifth volume of the Thea- 
truni Chemicum attributed to Plato, but the au- 
thenticity is doubtful ; and since the principal Greek 
records of the art were afterwards destroyed with the 
remnant of Egyptian literature at Alexandria, we are 
not desirous to enrol either of these names without 
more extant evidence to prove their claim to the title 
of Hermetic philosophers. They are mentioned here 
in their series, because we hope to make it probable, 
as the nature of the subject comes to be developed, 
that the most famous schools of theosophy have in 
all ages been based on a similar experimental ground 
and profound science of truth in their leaders. 

It was about the year 284 of the Christian era 
when, as Suidas relates, the facility with which the 
Egyptians were able to make gold and silver, and in 
consequence to levy troops against Rome, excited the 
envy and displeasure of the emperor to such an 
extent, that he issued an edict, by which every che- 
mical book was to be seized and burned together in 
the public market-place ; vainly hoping, as the his- 
torian adds, by this shameful act, to deprive them of 
the means of annoying him any more. Thus 
Suidas also endeavours to account for the silence of 
antiquity with respect to the Egyptian Art.^ Yet, 
notwithstanding all this sacrilege, the art appears to 
have been continually revived in Egypt throughout 
the whole period of her decline ; and, though the re- 

1 Epistle II. Plato's Works, by Taylor, vol. v. 

2 Suidas in Yerbo Chemeia. See the foregoing note, p. 6. 

16 Exoteric View. 

cords are scanty, we have the memorable story of 
Cleopatra, the last monarch, dissolving her earring in 
such a sharp vinegar as is only known to philosophers 
on the ground of nature. Mystical tales too there 
are related of her pursuits with Mark Antony, and 
certain chemical treatises attributed to this princess 
are yet extant.^ 

It will be unnecessary to delay our enquiry long at 
Rome ; a city so pre-eminently famous for luxury and 
arms was not likely to arrive at much perfection in 
the subtler sciences of nature. Some failing attempts 
of Caligula there are recounted by Pliny ;^ and Virgil, 
Ovid, Horace, Vitruvius, and other men noted of the 
Augustan Age, have been gravely accused of sorcery 
and dabbling in the black art. But the perpetual 
lamps best prove, and without offence, that the Ro- 
mans understood something of chemistry and the oc- 
cult laws of light ; several of these are described by 
Pancirollus; and St.Augustin mentions one consecrated 
to Venus in his day, that was inextinguishable. But 
the most remarkable were those found in Tullia's 
(Cicero's daughter's) tomb ; — and that one near Alestes 
in the year 1 500, by a rustic who, digging deeper than 
usual, discovered an earthen vessel or urn containing 
another urn, in which last was a lamp placed between 
two cylindrical vessels, one of gold the other of silver, 
and each of which was full of a very pure liquor, by 
whose virtue it is probable these lamps had continued 
to shine for upwards of fifteen hundred years ; and, 
but for the recklessness of barbarian curiosity, might 
have continued their wonderful illumination to this 
time. By the inscription found upon these vessels, 
it appears they were the work of one Maximus Olybius, 
who certainly evinced thereby some superior skill in 

' Cleopatra Eegina Egypti Ars auri faciendi, &c., aud others 
mentioned in the Catalogue of the Eoyal Library at Paris, 1742. 
See Dufresuoy, Hist. Herm. vol. iii. 

2 Invitaverat spes Caium Caligulam Principem avidissimum 
auri ; quam ob rem jussit ex coqui magnum auri pigmenti pondus ; 
et plane fecit aurum excellens, sed ita parvi ponderis ut detri- 
mentum sentiret, &c. (Hist. Nat. lib. xxxiii. cap. iv.) 

Preliminary Account. 17 

arljusting the gaseous elements, or other ethereal 
adaptations than is known at this day. The verses 
graven on the larger urn are as follows : — 

Platoui sacrum munus ne attingite fares : 
Ignotum est vobis hac quod in urna latet. 

Namque elementa gravi clausit digesta labore 
Vase sub hoc modico Maxim us Olybius. 

Adsit fecuudo custos sibi copia cornu, 
Ne pretium tanti depereat latieis. 

Which have been translated thus : 

Plunderers, forbear this gift to touch 

'Tis awful Pluto's own ; 
A secret rare the world conceak 

To such as you unknown. 
Olybius, in this slender vase, 

The elements has chained, 
Digested with laborious art. 

From secret science gained. 
With guardian care, two copious urns 

The costly juice confine. 
Lest through the ruins of decay, 

The lamp should cease to shine. 

On the lesser urn were these : 

Abite hinc pessimi fures ! 

Yos quid voltis vestris cum oculis emissititiis ? 

Abite hinc vestro cum Mercurio petasato caduceatoque ! 

Maximus maximo donum Plutoni hoc sacrum facit. 

Plunderers, with prying eyes, away ! 
What mean you by this curious stay ? 
Hence with your cunning patron god. 
With bonnet winged and magic rod ! 
Sacred alone to Pluto's name 
This mighty art of endless fame ! ^ 

Hermolaus Barbarus, in his corollary to Dioscorus, 
or some other, where he is treating of the element of 
water in general, alludes to a particular kind that is 
distinct from every other w^ater or liquor, saying, — 
There is a ccelestial, or rather a divine water of the 
chemists, with which both Democritus and Trisme- 
gistus were acquainted, calling it di\dne water, Scy- 

' See Theat. Chem. vol. i. p. 24; Ex Petri Apiani Antq. 
desumpta ; also, Taylor's notes to his Pausanias, vol. iii. 



18 Exoteric View. 

thian latex, &c., which is a spirit of the nature of 
the ether and quintessence of things, whence potable 
gold, and the stone of philosophers, takes its begin- 
ning. The ancient author of the Apocalypse of the 
Secret Spirit of Nature, is also cited by H. Kuhnrath, 
concerning this water ; and he devoutly affirms, that 
the ether in this praeter-perfect aqueous body will 
burn perpetually, without diminution or consumption 
of itself, if the external air only be restrained.^ There 
are also, besides those mentioned by P^^ncirollus, mo- 
dern accounts of lamps found burning in monuments 
and antique caves of Greece and Germany. But the 
Bononian Enigma, long famous, without a solution, 
should not be omitted here, since this relic has puz- 
zled many learned antiquaries ; and the adepts claim 
it as having exclusive reference to the occult material 
of their art. 


Nee vir, nee mulier, nee androgyna, 

Nee puella, nee juvenis, nee anus, 

Nee casta, nee meretrix, nee pudica, 
Sed omnia ! 

Sublata neque fame, neque ferro, neqne 

Yeneno, sed omnibus ! 

Nee coelo, nee terris, nee aquis, 
Sed ubique jacet ! 


Nee maritus, nee amator, nee neeessarius, 
Neque moerens, neque gaudens, neque flens, 

Neque molem, neque pjramidem, neque sepulcrura, 

Sed omnia. 
Seit et neseit eui posuerit, 
Hoc est sepulcrum certe, cadaver 
Non habeus, sed cadaver idem, 

Est et sepulcrum ! ^ 

The following excellent translations appeared 
amongst some original contributions in the early 
number of a literary periodical, a few years since : ^ — 

^ Amphitbeatrum Sapientise Eternae, circa medium. 
2 Tbeat. Chem. vol. v. p. 744. Kircheri (Edipus -^gyptiacus, 
vol. i. 
•'' The Critic, new series, No. 13, 1845, p. 352. 

Preliminary Account. 



Nor male, nor female, nor hermaphrodite, 
Nor virgin, woman, young or old. 
Nor chaste, nor harlot, modest hight, 

But all of them you're told — 
Not killed by poison, famine, sword. 
But each one had its share. 
Not in heaven, earth, or water broad 

It lies, but everywhere ! 


No husband, lover, kinsman, friend. 

Rejoicing, sorrowing at life's end, 

Knows or knows not, for whom is placed 

This — ^what ? This pyramid, so raised and graced, 

This grave, this sepulchre ? 'Tis neither, 

'Tis neither — but 'tis all and each together. 

Without a body I aver. 

This is in truth a sepulchre ; 

But notwithstanding, I proclaim 

Both corpse and sepulchre the same ! 

All these contradictory claims are said by the alche- 
mists to relate to the properties of their universal 
subject, as we shall hereafter endeavour to explain. 
Michael Ma/er has detailed the whole allusion in his 
Symbola} And N. Barnaud, in the Theatrum Che- 
miciim, has a commentary on the same.'^ 

But to proceed ; transferring our regards from 
Rome to Alexandria, we find many Christian Pla- 
tonists and divines studying and discussing the Occult 
Art in their writings. St. John, the Evangelist Apos- 
tle, is cited as having practised it for the good of the 
poor ; not only in healing the sick, but also confecting 
gold, silver, and precious stones for their benefit. St. 
Victor relates the particulars in a commentary, and 
the Greek Catholics were accustomed to sing the fol- 
lowing verses in a hymn appointed for the mass on St. 
John's day. 

Cum gemmarum partes fractas 
Solidasset, has disti'actas 
Tribuit pauperibus. 

1 Symbola Auriae Mensse, p. 170, etc. 

2 Commentariolum in Enigmaticum quoddam Epitaphium Bo- 
noniae studiorum, ante multa seciila marmoreo lapidi insculptum. 
Theat. Chem. vol. v. 



20 Exoteric View. 

Inexbaustxim fert tbesanruni 
Qui de virgis fecit aurum 
Gemmas de lapidibu3.^ 

Looking to the general testimony of the Fathers, 
we observe that the early Church Catholic did not 
neglect to avail herself of the powers which sanctity of 
life and a well-grounded faith had gotten her. There 
is no doubt either that the Apostles, when they in- 
stituted and left behind them certain ordinances and 
elementary types, as of water, oil, salt, and light, sig- 
nified some real and notable efficacies. But our Re- 
formers, mistaking these things for superstitions, and 
since they had ceased to have any meaning, turned 
them all out of doors ; retaining indeed little more of 
the mystery of regeneration than a traditional faith. 
The Papists, on the other hand, equally obli\dous, 
evinced only to what a length human credulity and 
ignorance may be carried, by placing inherent holiness 
in those material signs, apart from the spirit and only 
thing signified ; adding, moreover, to the original ordi- 
nations many follies of their own, they fell into a very 
slavish and stupid kind of idolatry. And since one of 
the most fertile sources. of dissension that have arisen 
in the Christian Church has been about these very 
shadows and types of doctrine, it is to be hoped that, if 
ever again they sliould come to be generally reintro- 
duced, it will not be on the ground of ecclesiastical 
persuasion, or any mere written authority, which, how- 
ever high and well supported, has never yet been 
found sufficient to produce unanimity ; but from a true 
understanding and co-operation of that original virtue, 
apart from which they do but mimic an efficacy, and 
gather unwholesome fruits. There is a curious story of 
an early Christian mission to China, related by Thomas 

^ See Alexander Beauvais in Specido Nalurali)/. Hie Johannes 
Evaiigelista numeratur etiam ab Avicenna, dictionc prima libri de 
anima, inter possessores lapidis pbilosopbici, suasqncinstitutiones, 
qui se Avicenna artem banc docuorint quod verigimile est, nam et 
ecclesia prisca, auctore Adamo a Sancto Victore, die D. Jobauni 
EvangeUsta> sacro mente decinit in bymno incipiente : " Gratu- 
lemur ad iestivum," &c. Yide Lucerna Salis, p. 65, &c. 

Preliminary Account. 21 

Vaughaii, in his JMag'ia Adamica, showing how the 
faith became originally established there and else- 
where by its open efficacy, and the power of works, 
in healing and purifying the lives of men. 

But we are at Alexandria, and during that grand re- 
vival of philosophy which took place and continued 
there some centuries subsequent to the Christian 
epoch. Plotinus, Philo-Judeeus, Proclus, Porphyry, / / 
Jamblicus, Juli/n, and Apuleius, each professing a / <^ '. 
genuine knowledge of the Theurgic art, and experi- 
mental physics on the Hermetic ground. We shall 
have frequent occasion to quote their evidence here- 
after ; Heliodorus, Olympiodorus, Synesius, Athena- 
goras, Zozimus, and Archelaus, have each left trea- 
tises which are extant on the philosopher's stone. ^ 
The excellent Hypatia, also, should be mentioned 
amongst these, so celebrated for her acquirements and 
untimely end ; it was from this lady that Synesius 
learned the occult truths of that philosophy, to 
which he ever afterwards devoted his mind, and which 
he never abandoned, pursuing it still more zealously 
when, converted to Christianity, he became a bishop 
of the Alexandrian Church. He was careful, how- 
ever, to protect the mysteries of his religion from 
vulgar abuse, and refused to expound in public 
the philosophy of Plato ; he and his brethren having 
unanimously bound themselves by oath to initiate 
none but such as had been worthily prepared and duly 
approved by the whole conclave.^ Of Synesius, we 
have remaining the Alchemical commentary on De- 
mocritus before mentioned, with an admirable piece 
commonly found appended to other treatises, those of j 

A r tcfiuc and Flammel's Hieroglyphics, for example, Oy^lLoX^. 

^ Heliodorus Phil. Clirist. de Arte Sacra Chimicor. ad Theod. 
Imp. Idem, versus Gr^ec. circa Cliimiam. Olympiodori Phil. 
Ales, de Divina et Sacra Arte Lapidis Philosophici Tractatus. 
Athenagoras de Perfect. Amoris. Zozimus de Virtute et Com- 
positione Aquarum. Idem, de Aqua Diviua. Idem, de Auri Con- 
ficieiidi. Archelai, Carmen lambicum de Sacra Arte. See Du- 
fresnoy, Histoire de I'Art Ilermetique, vol. iii. Cat. Gr. IVISS. 

^ Synesius, Epistola 36, 142. 

22 Exoteric View. 

and translated into English, with Basil Valentine's 
Chariot of Antimotiy, and the useful commentaries of 
the adept Kirchringius.^ 

HeUodorus was a familiar friend of Synesius, and 
brother adept ; besides the writings already named, 
the mystical romance of J'heage/ies and Charicka 
being attributed to him as an offence, rather than 
disavow it, as was required, he relinquished his 
bishopric of Tricca, in Thessaly, and went to pursue 
his studies in poverty and retirement. 

Zozimus was an Egyptian, and reputed a great 
practitioner. The name of Athenagoras is familiar 
in Church history; his tract, which has been trans- 
lated into French, and entitled Da Parfait Amour, 
shows him to have been practically conversant with 
the art he allegorizes. 

The taking of Alexandria by the Arabs, in the year 
640, dispersed the choice remnant of mind yet cen- 
tred there ; and it was not long afterwards that the 
Calif Omar, mad in his Mahomedan zeal, condemned 
her noble and unique library to heat the public baths 
of the city, which it is said to have done for the space 
of six miserable months. A wild religious fanaticism 
now prevailed ; Christians and Mahomedans struggling 
for temporal supremacy : — and here we may observe 
something similar to a fulfilment of the Asclepian 
prophecy, but the evil was more profusely spread even 
than was predicted ; for religion had everywhere fallen 
off from her vital foundation ; tradition and sectarian 
delirium had taken place of intellectual enthusiasm, 
and idle dreams were set up as oracles in the place 
of Divdne inspiration. The priests, above all blame- 
worthy, having forsaken the law of conscience, at- 
tempted to wield without it the rod of magic power. 
Confusion and licentiousness followed ; and from gra- 
dual sufferance grew, and came to prevail, in the 
worst imaginable forms. Necessity, at length, com- 

1 Troics, Traitez de la Philosophie, &e., Paris, 1612. The 
Triumphal Chariot of Antimony, from Kirchringius's ed., and The 
True Book of Synesius, on the Philosopher's Stone. 

Preliminary Account. 23 

pelled an abandonment of the Mysteries ; Theurgic 
rites, no longer holy, were proscribed ; and a punish- 
ment, no less than death, was menaced against him who 
dared to pursue the " Religion of Intellect." In the 
interim, those few who had withstood the torrent of 
ambitious temptation, indignant at the multiform 
folly, and observing by aid of their remaining wisdom, 
that the ingression of evil was not yet fulfilled, has- 
tened rather than delayed the crisis ; and by burying 
themselves with their saving science in profound ob- 
scurity, have left the world to oblivion, and the deceit 
of outer darkness, with rare indiv^idual exceptions, to 
this day. 

It is a peculiarity of the Hermetic science that men 
of every religion, time and country and occupation, 
have been found professing it ; and Arabia, though 
she was guilty of so great a sacrilege at Alexandria, 
has herself produced many wise kings and renowned 
philosophers. It is not known exactly when Prince 
Geber lived ; but since his name has become noto- 
rious, and is cited by the oldest authors, whereas he 
himself quotes none, he merits, at all events, an early 
consideration. Besides, he is generally esteemed by 
adepts as the greatest, after Hermes, of all who have 
philosophized through this art. 

Of the five hundred treatises, said to have been 
composed by him, three only remain to posterity : 
The Iiwestigatioii of Perfection, The Sum of the 
perfect Jilagisteri/, and his Testament ;^ and the 
light estimation in which these are held by more 
modern chemists, forms a striking contrast to the un- 
feigned reverence and admiration with which they 

' Gebri Arahum Summa Perfectionis Magisterii in sua Natura. 
Idem, de Investigatioue Perfectionis Metalloruni. Idem, Testa - 
mentum. These wei'e printed together at Dantzic from the 
Vatican MSS., aiid have been translated into English, and en- 
titled " The Works of Geber, comprising the Sum and Search of 
Perfection ; Of the Investigation of Verity ; and Of Furnaces ; with 
a Recapitulation of the Author's Experiments, by R. Eussel : 
London, 1678." There are other translations, but all faulty in 
one or other respect. 

24 Exoteric View. 

were formerly reviewed and cited by the adepts, Al- 
bertus Magnus, Lully, and many more of the brightest 
luminaries of their age. 

" If we look back to the seventh century (we quote 
from the address delivered at the opening meeting of 
the Faraday Society, 1846), the alchemist is presented 
brooding over his crucibles and alembics that are to 
place within his reach the philosopher's stone, the 
transmutation of metals, the alkahest, and the elixir of 
life. With these we associate the name of Geber, the 
first authentic writer on the subject ; from whose pe- 
culiar and mysterious style of writing, we derive 
the word gebcr or gibberish .'' 

Yet, notwithstanding this and much more that they 
descant upon, if our modern illuminati were but half 
as experienced in nature as they might be — had they 
one ray even of the antique intellect they deride, how 
different a scene would not that remote age present to 
them ? Instead of imagining greedy dotards brooding 
over their crucibles and uncouth alembics, in vain 
hope of discovering the elixir and stone of philoso- 
phers, they would observe the philosophers them- 
selves, by a kindred light made visible, on their own 
ground : experimenting indeed, but how and with 
what? Not with our gross elements, our mercuries, 
sulphurs, and our lifeless salts ; but in a far different 
nature, with stranger arts, and with laboratories too, how 
different from those now in use : — of common fittings, 
yet not inferior either ; but most complete, with ves- 
sels, fuel, furnaces, and every material requisite, well 
adapted together and compact in one. Right skilfully 
has old Geber veiled a fair discovery, by his own art 
alone to be unmasked : his gibbeinsh is not of the 
present day's commonplace, tame, and tolerable ; 
but such ultra foolishness in literality are his receipts, 
as folly is never found to venture or common sense 
invent. For they are a part of wisdom's envelope, to 
guard her universal magistery from an incapable and 
dreaming world ; calculated they are, nevertheless, 
though closely sealed, to awaken rational curiosity, 

Preliminary Account. 25 

and lend a helping hand to those who have already 
entered on the right road ; but to deceive in practice 
only the most credulous and inept. They who have 
really understood Geber, his adept compeers, declare 
with one accord that he has spoken the truth, though 
disguisedly, with great acuteness and precision : others, 
therefore, who do not profess to understand, and to 
whom those writings are a mere unintelligible jargon, 
may take w^arning hence, lest they exhibit to posterity 
a twofold ignorance and vanity of thought. 

Rhasis, another Arabian alchemist, w^as even more 
publicly famous than Geber, on account of the practi- 
cal displays he made of his transmuting skill. Excel- 
lent extracts fi'om his writings, which are said to 
exist principally in manuscript, often occur in the 
w orks of Roger Bacon. 

The story of the hermit Morien, how in early life he 
left his family and native city (for he was a Roman), 
to seek the sage Adfar, a solitary adept, whose fame 
had reached him from Alexandria ; the finding him, 
gaining his confidence, and becoming at length his 
devoted disciple ; — is related by his biographer in a 
natural and very interesting manner : also, his subse- 
quent sojournings, after the death of his patron, his 
intercourse with King Calid, with the initiation and 
final conversion of that prince to Christianity. But the 
details are given at much too great length for extract 
in this place. A very attractive and esteemed work, 
purporting to be a dialogue between himself and Calid, 
is extant under the name of Morien, and copied into 
many of the collections.^ Calid also wrote some 
treatises : his Liber Sccretonim, or Secret of Secrets, 
as it has been styled, is translated into English, French, 
and Latin. ^ 

Prince Averroes, and the notorious Avicenna, next 
demand notice. The latter became known to the 

^ Morienus Eremita Hierosol. de Transfiguratione MetaUorum, 
seu Dialogus Morieui cum Calide rege, de Lapide Pliilos. 

^ See Theat. Chem. vol. v. ; Salmon's Practical Physic ; and 
Le Bibliotheque des Philosoplies Chimiques. 

26 Exoteric View. 

world somewhere between the ninth and tenth centu- 
ries. His strong but ill-directed genius, so similar to 
that of Paracelsus, was the occasion of much suifering 
and self-desolation ; but his name was illustrious over 
Asia, and his authority continued preeminent in the 
European schools of medicine until after the Reforma- 
tion. He is said to have carried on the practice of 
transmutation, with the magical arts in general, to 
a great extent ; but his Alchemical remains are neither 
lucid nor numerous, not those at least which are well 
A authenticated.^ 
CbJt^j^JC^^^ Artofiuo was a Jew, who, by the use of the elixir, is 
■^ ^ reported to have lived throughout the period of a 

thousand years, with what truth or credibihty opinions 
may vary ; he himself affirms it, and Paracelsus, Pon- 
tanus, and Roger Bacon appear to give credence to 
the tale,"^ which forms j^art of his celebrated treatise 
on the philosopher's stone, and runs as follows: — 
Ego vero Artefius postquam adeptus sum veram 
accomplctam sapientiam in libris veridici Hermetis, fui 
aliquando invidius sicut cseteri omnes, sed cum per 
mille annos aut circiter qua? jam transierunt super me 
-; a nativitate mea gratia soli Dei omnipotentis et usu 
Ci\^e.j6JUci^ hujus mirabilis quintee essentise. — /. e. I, Art c HuJ r 
^ having learnt all the art in the books of the true 

Hermes, was once, as others, envious ; but having 
now lived one thousand years, or thereabouts (which 
thousand years have already passed over me since my 
nativity, by the grace of God alone, and tlie use of 
this admirable quintessence), as I have seen, through 
this long space of time, that men have been unable to 
perfect the same magistery on account of the obscurity 
of the words of philosophers, moved by pity and 
a good conscience, I have resolved, in these my last 

^ The following have been attributed to him : — Avicenna de 
Tinctura Metalloi-mu. Idem, Porta Elementa. Idem, de Mine- 
ralibus, — printed Avith the Dantzic edition of Geber and a few 

' See Theophrastus Paracelsus in Libro de Vitalonga, Pontanus, 
Epistola, &c. R. Bacon, in Libro de Mirab. Natur. Operib. 

Preliminary Account. 


days, to publish it all sincerely and truly ; so that 
men may have nothing more to desire concerning this 
work. I except one thing only, which it is not lawful 
that I should write, because it can be revealed truly 
only by God, or by a master. Nevertheless, this like- 
wise may be learned from this book, provided one be 
not stiff-necked, and have a little experience.^ 

This Ai'tefius forms a sort of link in the history of 
Alchemy, carried as it was in the course of time from 
Asia into Europe, about the period of the first cru- 
sades, when a general communication of the mind of 
different nations was effected by their being united 
under a common cause. Sciences, arts, and civiliza- 
tion, which had heretofore flourished in the East only, 
were gradually transplanted into Europe ; and towards 
the end of the twelfth century, or thereabouts, our 
Phoenix too bestirred herself, and passed into the 

Roger Bacon was amongst the first to fill his lamp 
from her revivescent spirit ; and with this ascending 
and descending experimentally, he is said to have dis- 
covered the secret ligature of natures, and their magi- 
cal dissolution : he was moreover acquainted with 
theology in its profoundest principles ; medicine, like- 
wise physics and metaphysics on their intimate ground; 
and, having proved the miraculous multiplicability of 
light by the universal spirit of nature, he worked the 
knowledge into such effect, that in the mineral king- 
dom it produced gold.^ What marvel, persecuted as 
he was for the natural discoveries which he gave to 
the world, without patent or profit to himself, if he 
should appropriate these final fruits of labour and long 
interior study ? Yet it does not appear that he was 
selfishly prompted even in this particular reservation ; 
it was conscience, as he declares, that warned him 
to withhold a gift somewhat over rashly and dan- 

^ Artefii Autiquissimi Philosoplii de Arte Occulta atque Lapide 
Philosophoriim Liber secretus. 

2 See, Speculum Alchimise Eogerii Bachouis, Theat. Chem. vol. 
ii. De Mirabilibus Potestatibus Artis et Naturae, &c. 

28 Exoteric View. 

gerously obtained. His acutely penetrative and expe- 
rimental mind, not content even with enough, led 
him by a fatal curiosity, as it is suggested, into for- 
bidden realms of self-sufficiency and unlawful perscru- 
tinations, which ended in disturbing his peace of mind, 
and finally induced him to abandon altogether those 
researches, in order to retrieve and expiate in solitude 
the wrongs he had committed. We know that the 
imputation of magic has seemed ridiculous, and every 
report of the kind has been referred to the fi'iar's 
extraordinary skill in the natural sciences. The rejec- 
tion of his books at Oxford has often been cited as an 
instance of the exceeding bigotry of those times, as 
indeed it was ; and yet, are we not nearly as far off per- 
haps from the truth in our liberality as were our fore- 
fathers in their superstition ? An accusation of magic 
has not occurred of late, nor would be likely to molest 

/rccc^v seriously any philosopher of the present age ; but then 
j^^i , it did^often during the dark ages, and who can tell 

^ / wliether it may not again at some future day, when 

men are even more enlightened and intimate with 
nature than they are now ? 

There are still remaining two or three works of 
Roger Bacon, in which the roots of the Hermetic 
science are fairly stated ; but the practice most care- 
fully concealed, agreeably to that maxim, which in 
his latter years he penned, tliat truth ought not to ht 
shown to every ribald, for then that would become most 
vile, ichich, in the hand of a philosopher, is the most 
precious of all things.^ 

Many great lights shone through the darkness of 
those middle ages ; Magians, who were drawn about 
the fire of nature, as it were, into communion with her 
central source. Albertus Magnus, his friend and dis- 
ciple the acute Aquinas, Duns Scotus the subtle 
doctor, Arnold di Villa Nova, and Raymond Lully, all 
confessed adepts. John Reuchlin, Ficinus the Pla- 
tonist, Picus di Mirandola, blending alchemy and 

1 Speculum Ak'liimia>, iu flue. Fr. Baclioiiis Anj^lici libellua 
cum iufluentiis Cceli, relates to the same mystical subject. 

Preliminary Account. 29 

therapeutics with neoplatonism and the cabahstic 
art. Spinoza also was a profound metaphysician and 
speculator on the same experimental ground. Alain 
de risle the celebrated French philosopher, Merlin 
(St. Ambrose), the abbot John Trithemius, Corne- 
lius Agrippa his enterprising pupil, and many more 
subsequent to these, great, resolute, and philosophic 
spirits, who were not alone content to rend asunder 
the veil of ignorance from before their own minds, but 
held it still partially open for others, disclosing the in- 
terior lights of science to such as were able to aspire, 
and willing to follow their great example, labouring in 
the way. Medium minds set limits to nature, halting 
continually, and returning, before barriers which those 
others overleaped almost without perceiving them. 
Faith was the beacon-light that led them on to con- 
viction, by a free perspicuity of thought beyond things 
seen, to believe and hope truthfully, which is the dis- 
tinguishing prerogative of great minds. But it will be 
necessary to regard this extraordinary epoch of Occult 
Science more in detail, with the testimony of its he- 
roes, whose reputation, together with that of alchemy, 
has suffered from the faithlessness of biographers, 
compilers, commentators, and such like interference. 

Most of the alchemical works of Albert, for in- 
stance, have been excluded from the great editions of 
his works, and the authenticity of all has been dis- 
puted, but without lasting effect; for in that long and 
laborious treatise, De Mineraiibus, unquestionably 
his own, even if the rest were proved spurious, there 
is sufficient evidence of his behef and practice to 
admit all. Therein he describes the Jirst matter 
of the adepts with the characteristic minuteness of 
personal observation, and recommends alchemy as 
the best and most easy means of rational investi- 
gation. De transmutationc horum corporum metalli- 
corum et mutatione unius in aliud non est physici 
determinare, sed artis quae est Alchimica. Est autem 
optimum genus hujus inquisitionis et certissimum, quia 
Munc per causam unius cuj usque rei propriam, res 

30 Exoteric View. 

cognoscitur, et de accidentibus ejus minimi dubitatur, 
nee est difficile cognoscere.^ 

This passage is one amongst many that might be 
adduced from his own pen to prove that Albert was 
an alchemist ; but Aquinas' disclosures are ample, re- 
moving all doubt, even if he himself had left room 
for any. Besides the treatise of minerals already 
mentioned, there is the Libellus de Alcheniia, pub- 
lished with his other works ;^ also, the ConcordamUtia 
Philosuphorum de Lapide, the Secrelinn Secretorum, 
and Breve Compendium in the Theatrum Chemicum, 
all treating of the same subject. Albert's authority 
is the more to be respected in that he gave up every 
temporal advantage, riches, fame, and ecclesiastical 
power, to study philosophy in a cloister remote from 
the world during the greater portion of a long life. 
An opinion has commonly obtained that the philoso- 
pher's stone was sought after from selfish motives and 
a blind love of gain : and that such has been fre- 
quently the case there is no doubt ; but then such 
searchers never found it. The conditions of success 
are peculiar, as will be shown. Avarice is of all 
motives the least likely to be gratified by the dis- 
covery of wisdom. It is philosophers only that she 
teaches to make gold. 

Qufprunt Alchimiam, falsi quoque recti ; 
Falsi sine numero, sed hi sunt rejecti ; 
Et cupiditatibus, beu, tot sunt infecti 
Quod inter niille millia, vix sunt tres electi 
Istam ad scieutiam.^ 

The true adepts have been rare exceptions in the 
world, despite of all calumny, famous, and favoured 
above their kind. Let any one but with an unpreju- 
diced eye regard the writings of those who may be 
believed on their own high authority to have suc- 
ceeded in this art, and he will perceive that the mo- 

1 Lib. iii. de Miueralibus, cap. 1. 

2 Tom. 21, in fol. Lugduni, 1653, and in Theat. Cbem. vol. ii. 

' Norton's, Ordinall of Alcbemv, Preface, in Ashmole's Theat. 
Chem. Brit. 

Preliminary Account. 31 

tives actuating- them were of the purest possible kind; 
truthful, moral, always pious and intelligent, as those 
of the pseudo-alchemists, on the other hand, were 
reckless and despicable. But more of this hereafter. 
Albertus died, magnus in magia, major in philoso- 
phia, maximus in theologia ; ^ and his learning and 
fame descended fully on him who had already shared 
it, his disciple, the subtle and sainted Aquinas. 

The truth was not likely to lie dormant in such 
hands ; Aquinas wrote largely and expressly on the doc- 
trine oftransmutation, and in his Thesaurus Alchimice, 
addressed to his friend, the Abbot Reginald, he al- 
ludes openly to the practical successes of Albert and 
himself in the Secret Art.^ Vain, therefore, are attempts 
of his false panegyrists, who, anxious it would seem 
rather for the intellectual than the moral fame of their 
hero, have ventured to slur over his assertions as du- 
bious. Aquinas is much too far committed in his 
writings for their quibbling exceptions to tell in proof 
against his own direct and positive affirmation. Me- 
talla transmutari possunt unum in aliud, says he, cum 
naturalia sint et ipsorum materia eadem. Metals can 
be transmuted one into another, since they are of one 
and the same matter."^ Declarations more or less 
plain to the same effect are frequent, and his treatise, 
De Esse et Essentia, is eminently instructive. It is 
true he slurs over points and sophisticates also occa- 
sionally in order to screen the doctrine from superficial 
detection ; for Aquinas was above all anxious to direct 
inquirers to the higher purposes and application of 
the divine Art, and universal theosophy, rather than 
to rest its capabilities of quickening and perfection in 
the mineral kingdom, as at that period many were 
wont to do, sacrificing their whole life's hope to the 

^ See Chronicon Magnum Belgicixm. 

^ TractatusD. Ttomae Aquino datus fratri D. Keinaldo de Arte 

^ Meteorum Initio, lib. iv.; and again, Prsecipuus Alcliimistarum 
scopus est transmutare metalla scilicet imperfecta secundum veri- 
tatem et non sophistice. 

32 Exoteric View. 

multiplication of gold. Fac sicut te ore tenens docui, 
ut scis quod tibi non scribo, quoniam peccatum esset 
hoc secretum viris secularibus revelare, qui magis 
banc scientiam propter vanitatem quam propter debi- 
tum finem et Dei honorem quserunt. And again, Ne 
sis garrulus sed pone ori tuo custodiam ; et ut filiam 
sapientum margaritam ante porcas non projicies. Noli 
te, charissime, cum majori opere occupare, quia propter 
salutis et Christi prEedieationis officium ; et lucrandi 
tempus magni debes attendere divitiis spiritualibus, 
quam lucris temporibus inhiare.^ 

The pretensions of Arnold di Villa Nova have not 
been contested, nor are his writings the only evidence 
of his skill in the Great Art. Cotemporary scholars 
bear him witness, and instances are related of the won- 
derful projections which he made with the transmuting 
powder. The Jurisconsult, John Andre, mentions 
him, and testifies to' the genuine conversion of some 
iron bars into pure gold at Rome. Oldradus also and 
the Abbot Panorimitanus of about the same period, 
praise the Hermetic Art as beneficial and rational, and 
the wisdom of the alchemist Arnold di Villa Nova.^ 
The works of this philosopher are very numerous. 
The Rosariwn P/ii/osuphician, esteemed amongst the 
best, is published in the Tlieatrum Clitmicum, and 
at the end of the folio edition of his works. The 

^ Thesaurus Alchimise, cap. 1 aud 8. Tractatus datus Fratri 
Eeinaldo. Tliis with the Secreta Alchimioe and another are given 
in the Theatrum Cheniicuni, and other collections of the Art. 

^ Nostris diebus habuiinus magnum Arnoldimi di Villa Is'ova, 
in Curia Romana summum medicinam et theologiam, qui etiam 
magnus Alchymista virgvUas auri, quas faciebat consentiebat omni 
probationi submitti, &c. (Joan Andreas in addit. ad Specidum 
Eub. de crim. falsi.) Hsecille Andreas enim a doctis omnibus ad 
coelum usque laudibus vectus est, quern Ludovicus Eomanus 
omnium hominum pra?stantissimum appellavit. (E. ^'allensis de 
Yeritate, &c., in Theat. Chem. vol. i. p. 4.) Alchimia est ars 
perspicaci ingenio inveuta, ubi expenditur tantum pro tanto et 
tale pro tali, sine aliquafalsificatione format vel materia^, secundum 
Andream de Isernia et Oldradum. Hoc insuper firmavit Abbas 
Siculus Panoramitanus, &c. (D. Fabianus de INIonte, S. Severin 
in Tractatu do Emptione et Venditione, Quest 5. Oldradus, lib. 
Concilio, Quest. 74.) 

Preliminary Account. 33 

Speculum, a luminous treatise ; ttie Carm'nia, Qut.s- 
tio/ies ad Bo/iifaciut/i, the Testamentuui, and somf 
others are given entire in the Thmtrum Chtmicum, 
but have not been translated. 

About this time and towards the close of the four- 
teenth century, an excitement began to be perceptible 
in the public mind. So many men of acknowledged 
science and piety, one after another, agreeing about 
the reality of transmutation, and giving tangible 
proofs of their own skill, could not fail to produce 
an effect ; the art became in high request, and its 
professors were invited from all quarters, and held in 
high honour by the world. Lesser geniuses caught 
the scattered doctrine and set to work, some with 
sufficient understanding and with various success. 

Alain de I'lsle is said to have obtained the Elixir, 
but his chief testimony has been excluded by the edi- 
tors of his other works ; so often and unscrupulously 
has private prejudice interfered to defraud the public 
judgment of its rights and true data. The rejected 
treatise, however, was printed separately, and may be 
found in the third volume of the Theatruni Chemi- 
cuin.} This philosopher also wrote a commentary on 
the Prophecies of Aleiim, which are reported to have 
sole reference to the arcana of the Hermetic art.^ 

Raymond Lully is supposed to have become ac- 
quainted with Arnold, and the Universal Science, late 
in life ; but when the fame of his Christian zeal and 
talents had already become known and acknowledged 
abroad, his declarations in favour of alchemy had the 
greater weight. Unlike his cloistered predecessors, 
secluded and known as they were by name only to 
the world, Raymond had travelled over Europe, and 
a great part of Africa and Asia ; and wdth his former 
fame was at length mingled the discovery of alchemy 
and the philosopher's stone. John Cremer, Abbot of 
Westminster, had worked for thirty years, it is related, 

^ Alani Philosophi, Dicta de Lapide. 

2 Prophetia Anglicana Merlini, una cum Septem Libris Explica- 
tionnni in eandem Prophetiam, &e., Alani de Insulis, T'rancf. 1608. 


34 Exoteric View. 

assiduously with the hope of obtaining the secret. 
The enigmas of the old adepts had sadly perplexed and 
led him astray ; but he had discovered enough to con- 
vince him of the reality, and to encourage him to pro- 
ceed with the investigation; when, Lully's fame having 
reached him, he determined to seek that philosopher, 
then resident in Italy ; was fortunate in meeting with 
him and gaining his confidence ; became instructed in 
the method of practice, and not a little edified by the 
pious and charitable life which LuUy led there, and 
recommended to others. Desirous of becoming still 
more intimately enlightened than was convenient in 
that place, Cremer invited and brought over with him 
Raymond Lully to England ; where he was presented 
to the king, then Edward II., who had also before 
invited him from Vienna, being much interested in 
the talents and reputed skill of the stranger, and now 
more than ever by the promise of abundant riches 
which the sight of Cremer's gold held out to him. 
Lully, still as ever zealous for the promulgation of 
the Christian religion, promised to produce for the 
king all monies requisite, if he felt disposed to engage 
in the crusades anew. , Edward did not hesitate, but 
complied with every condition respecting the appli- 
ance of the gold, provided only Lully would supply 
it. The artist accordingly set to work, so the story 
runs, in a chamber set apart for him in the Tower, and 
produced fifty thousand pounds weight of pure gold. 
His own words relative to the extraordinary fact in 
his testament, are these ; — Converti una vice in aurum 
fet millia pondo argenti vivi, plumbi et stanni. I 
converted, says he, at one time fifty thousand pounds 
weight of quicksilver, lead and tin, into gold.' 

The king no sooner received this, than breaking- 
faith wath Lully, in order to obtain more, the artist 
w^as made a prisoner in his own laboratory, and with- 
out regard at all to the stipulation, before engaged 
in, ordered to commence his productive labours anew. 
This base conduct on the part of his king was much 

' Ultimnm Testamentum TJ. Lnllii. 

Preliminary Account. 35 

lamented by Cremer, who expresses indignation thereat 
openly in his TeMament ; ^ and the whole story has 
been repeatedly recorded in the detailed chronicles of 
those times. But to be short, our hero fortunately 
escaped from his imprisonment, and a coinage of the 
gold was struck in pieces weighing about ten ducats 
each, called Nobles of the Rose. Those who have ex- 
amined these coins pronounce them to be of the finest 
metal, and the inscription round the margin distin- 
guishes them from all others in the Museums, and 
denotes their miraculous origin. They are described 
in Camden's Antiquities, and for the truth of the whole 
story, we have, besides Cremer's evidence and the 
declarations of Lully, a great deal of curious cotem- 
porary allusion to be found in the books of Olaus 
Borrichius, R. Constantius, I'Englet Dufresnoy, and 
Dickenson. The last relates that some time after the 
escape of Lully, there was found in the cell he occupied 
at Westminster with Cremer, whilst it was undergoing 
some repairs, a certain quantity of the powder of 
transmutation, by means of which the workmen and 
architects became enriched.^ 

Lully's writings on Alchemy are, as the rest, ob- 
scure ; and have only been understood with great 
pains and application even by those who have been so 
fortunate as to possess the key of his cabalistic 
mind. Whether his equivocal and contradictory lan- 
guage was so contrived to baffle the sordid chemists ; 
or whether, as before said, he learned the art late in 
life, being previously incredulous, and was convinced 
at last only by Arnold exhibiting the transmutation 

^ Cremeri Testamentuin. 

^ Aureas illas nobiles Anglorum primftm profectas memorat 
(ex E-aymundi) Camdenus. Idem liodieque asseverantissime con- 
firmant Anglorum ciiriosi, additque Edmundus Dickensonus 
Lulliuin in coenobio Westmonasteriensi vixisse nou ingratiim 
liospitem : enimvero pluribus ab ejus discessu amnis, resarta 
quam incoluerat cellula multum adhuc pulveris Chrysopoei in 
Cistiila repertum, magno inventoris architecti emolumeuto. See 
Olaus Borrichius de Ortu et Progressu Chemi?e, 4to. p. 242 ; and 
E. Diol^enson, de Quintessentia. 

D 2 

3G Exoteric View. 

in his presence ; it would require scrupulous examina- 
tion to judge at this day : certain it is there are pas- 
sages in his writings which leave room for controversy, 
though none, we think, virtually denying the art, 
whilst his essays in favour of it are acknowledged 
excellent and numerous ; as many as two hundred are 
given in the catalogue of Dufresnoy treating exclu- 
sively on this subject.^ 

Those, were singular times when few any longer 
doubted the possibility of gold-making, and individuals 
of the highest repute devoted their lives to the subtle 
investigation. We have adduced this notable instance 
of Lully's prowess in England, as one only amongst 
many others, quite as well authenticated, which are 
told by the authors before cited and in the alchemical 
collections. Public curiosity was stimulated to the 
highest pitch ; experiments were made reckless of con- 
sequences, and the spirit of avarice, bursting forth 
expectant, absolutely raged. Whether the incaution 
of adepts, in making their art too publicly profitable, 
had given rise to the frenzy, or whether it was spon- 
taneously kindled, or from whatever cause, the fact is 
lamentably certain ; the Stone was no longer sought 
after by philosophers alone ; not only have we Lully, 
Cremer,Rupecissa,De Meun,Flammel,John Pontanus, 
Basil Valentine, Norton, Ripley, and the host of co- 
temporary worthies, successively entering the lists ; 
but with these a spurious brood of idlers living on the 
pubhc credulity, and which the practical evidence of 
these others continued to ferment ; men of all ranks, 
persuasions and degrees of intelligence, of every variety 
of calling, motive and imagination, were, as mono- 
maniacs, searching after the stone. 

As Popes ^vitll Cardinals of dignity, 
Arelibysliops with Byshops of high degree. 
With Abbots and Priors of religion. 
With Friars, Heremites, and Preests mania one, 

* Histoire Hermetique, vol. iii. His Theoria et Practica, 
given in the third volume of the Theat. Chem., appears to us one 
of the very best pieces of Alchemical philosopliy extant. 

Preliminary Account. 37 

And Kings with Princes and Lords great of bloode, 

For everie estate desireth after goode ; 

And the Merchaunts alsoe, which dwell in fiere 

Of brenning covetise, have thereto desire ; 

And common workmen will not be out-lafte, 

For as well as Lords they love this noble crafte. 

As Grouldsmithes, whome we shall leaste repreuve 

For sights in theii' craft mevetli them to beleeve ; 

But wonder it is that Brewers deale with such werkes, 

Free Masons, and Tanners, with poore parish clerkes ;- 

Tailors and Glaziers woll not therefore cease, 

And eke sely Tinkers will put them in preaae 

With great presumption ; yet some collour there was 

For all such men as give tmcture to glasse ; 

But manie Artificers have byn over swifte. 

With hastie credence to sume away their thrifte ; 

And albeit their losses made them to smarte 

Yet ever in hope continued their hearte ; 

Trustinge some tyme to speede right well. 

Of manie such truly I can tell ; 

A¥hich in such hope continued all their lyfe, 

Whereby they were made poore and made to unthrive : 

It had byne good for them to have left oft' 

In season, for noughte they founde except a scoffe, 

For trewly he that is not a great clerke, 

Is nice and lewde to medle with this werke ; 

Ye may trust me it is no small inginn. 

To know alle secrets pertaining to this myne. 

For it is most profounde philosophye 

This subtill science of holy Alkimy.^ 

Many usurped the title of adepts, who had no know- 
ledge even of the prehminaries of the Art ; sometimes 
deceiving, at others, being themselves deceived ; and it 
has been principally from the fraudulent pretensions of 
those dabblers, that the world has learned to despise Al- 
chemy, confounding the genuine doctrine with their 
sophistical and vile productions ; and a difficulty yet re- 
mains to distinguish them, and segregate, from so great 
an interspersion of darkness, the true light. For a mul- 
titude of books were put forth with the merest pur- 
pose of deception, and to ensnare the unwary ; some 
indeed affirming, that the truth was to be found in 
salts, or nitres, or boraxes ; but others, in all vege- 
table bodies indiscriminately, committing a multifa- 

1 Norton's Ordinall in Ashmole's Theat. Chem. Brit. p. 7. 

38 Exoteric View. 

rious imagination to posterity. Nor did these alone 
content the evil spirit of that day, but it must intro- 
duce mutilated editions of the old masters, filled with 
inconsistencies, and the wicked inventions of designing 
fraud ; and thus, as the adept observes, they have 
blasphemed the Sacred Science, and by their errors 
have brought contempt on men philosophising. 

As of that Mounke wliicli a boke did write 

Of a thousand receipts iu malice for despighte, 

Which he copied in manie a place. 

Whereby hath byn made manie a pale face 

And manie gowndes have been made bare of hewe, 

And men made fals which beforetimes were trewe.^ 

Nor has the literature alone suffered from such 
knavish interpolation ; but the social consequences 
are described, at the time, as deplorable ; rich mer- 
chants, and others, greedy of gain, were induced to 
trust quantities of gold, silver, and even precious 
stones, wdiich they lost, in the vain hope of getting them 
multiplied ; and these rogueries became so frequent 
and notorious, that at last acts of Parliament were 
passed in England, and Pope's Bulls issued over 
Christendom, forbidding transmutation, on pain of 
death, and the pursuit of alchemy."^ But this, w^hilst 
giving an external check, did not smother the 
desire of riches, or that morbid desire of them, so 
long fostered in the expectation ; experiments con- 
tinued to be carried on in secret with no less ardour 
than before, both by knaves and philosophers. Pope 
John XXII., who interdicted it, is said to have 
practised the art himself extensively, and to have 
wonderfully enriched the public treasury through its 
means. But to bring forward each extraordinary tra- 
dition and character of the various artists who flou- 
rished during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, 
would trespass too far on our pages ; and for the 
present purpose, it may be needful only to detail the 
more remarkable. 

^ Norion'is Ordinall, cap. 1. 

^ See Dufrec<uoy, Hist. Herm. vol. ii. p. 11, &c. 

Preliminary Account. 39 \ ^^^^^'^^ 

Amongst them, the story of Nicholas Flammel, 
and his wife Perne4:te, has been thought interest- 
ing. Their humble origin, sudden accumulation of 
wealth, their charitable distribution of it, and the 
eminent piety and mystery of their lives, attracted 
great attention in their own country, and a wide- 
spread fame has descended and connects their 
name honourably with the history of the Hermetic 
art. The relation given simply by the author con- 
cerning himself is as follows ; — 1, Nicholas Flam- 
mel, Scrivener, living in Paris, in the year of our 
Lord, 1399, in the Notary-street, near St. James, of 
the Boucherie, though I learned not much Latin, be- 
cause of the poverty of my parents, who, notwith- 
standing were, even by those who envy me most, 
accounted honest and good people ; yet, by the bless- 
ing of God, I have not wanted an understanding of 
the books of the philosophers, but learned them, and 
attained to a certain kind of knowledge, even of their 
hidden secrets. For which cause's sake, there shall 
not any moment of my life pass wherein, remembering 
this so vast good, I will not render thanks to this my 
good and gracious God. After the death of my pa- 
rents, I, Nicholas Flammel, got my living by the art 
of writing, ingrossing, and the like ; and in the course 
of time, there fell by chance into my hands a gilded 
book, very old and large, which cost me only two 
florins. It was not made of paper or parchment, as 
other books are, but of admirable rinds, as it seemed 
to me, of young trees ; the cover of it was brass, 
well bound, and graven all over with a strange kind of 
letters, which I took to be Greek characters, or some 
such like. This I know, that I could not read them ; 
but as to the matter which was written within, it was 
engraven, as I suppose, with an iron pencil, or graver, 
upon the said bark leaves ; done admirably well, and 
in fair neat Latin letters, and curiously coloured. It 
contained thrice seven leaves, for so they were num- 
bered on the top of each folio, and every seventh leaf 

40 Exoteric View. 

was without writini< ; but in place thereof were se- 
veral images and figures painted. 

Further, going on to describe the book and these 
hieroglyphics minutely, Flammel relates how, at 
length, after much study and fi'uitless toil, their mean- 
ing was explained to him by a Jew stranger, whom lie 
met with in his travels ; and how on his return home, 
he set to work and succeeded in the discovery, is thus 
familiarly declared : — He that would see the manner 
/-eA^vfi l^t of my arrival home, and the joy of Pornotto, let him 
look upon us two in the city of Paris, upon the door 
of the chappel of James', in the Boucherie, close by one 
side of my house, where we are both painted, kneel- 
ing, and giving thanks to God : for through the 
grace of God it was, that I attained the ])erfect know- 
ledge of all that I desired. I had now the ■prima ina- 
teria, the first principles, yet not their preparatiofi, 
which is a thing most difficult above all things in the 
world ; but in the end I had that also, after a long- 
aberration and wandering in the labyrinth of errors, 
for the space of three years. During which time, I 
did nothing but study and search and labour, so as 
you see me depicted without this arch, where I have 
shown my process, praying also continually unto God, 
and reading attentively in my book, pondering the 
words of the philosophers, and then trying and proving 
the various operations which I thought they might 
mean by their words. At length, I found that which 
I desired ; which I also soon knew, by the scent and 
odor thereof. Having this, I easily accomplished the 
magistery. For knowing the prcparatioi/s of the prime 
agents, and then literally following the directions in 
my book, I could not then miss the work if I would. 
Having attained this, I came now to Projection ; and 
the first time I made projection, was upon mercury; 
a pound and a-half whereof, or thereabouts, I turned 
into pure silver, better than that of the mine ; as I 
proved by assaying it myself, and also causing others 
to assay it for me, several times. This was done in 

Preliminary Account. 41 

the year, a.d. 1382, January 17, about noon, in my 
own house, Pcrncttc alone being present with me. J ^Ayn^e, CC^ 
Again following the same directions in my book, word 
by word, 1 made projection of the Red Stone, on a like 
quantity of mercury, P crn otte-only being present, and / -OAyruzJiA. o^ 
in the same house ; which was done in the same year, 
April 25, at five in the afternoon. This mercury I 
truly transmuted into almost as much gold, much 
better indeed than common gold, more soft also, and 
more pliable. I speak in all truthfully. I have made ^ 
it three times with the help of Pdm i ett e, who under- /eAyn^J^iLy 
stands it as well as myself; and, without doubt, if she 
would have done it alone, she would have brought the 
work to the same, or full as gi'eat perfection as I had 
done. I had truly enough, when I had once done it ; 
but I found exceeding great pleasure and delight in 
seeing and contemplating the admirable works of na- 
ture, icithin the vessels. And to show you that I had 
then done it three times, I caused to be depicted under 
the same arch, three furnaces, like to those which 
serve for the operations of the work. I w^as much 
concerned for a long time, lest Pernette, by reason of 
extreme joy, should not hide her felicity, which I 
measured by my ow^n ; and lest she should let fall 
some words amongst her relations, concerning the 
great treasure which we possessed. But the goodness 
of the great God, had not only given and filled me 
with this blessing, in giving me a sober chaste wife ; 
but she was also a wise prudent woman, not only ca- 
pable of reason, but also to do what was reasonable ; 
and made it her business, as I did, to think of God, 
and to give ourselves to the work of charity and 
mercy. Before the time wherein I wrote this dis- 
course, wdiich was at the latter end of the year 1413, 
after the death of my beloved companion ; she and I 
had already founded and endowed with revenues four- 
teen hospitals, three chapels, and seven churches, in 
the city of Paris ; all which we had new built from the 
ground, and were able to enrich with gifts and reve- 

42 Exoteric View. 

nues. We have also done at Bologne about the same 
as at Paris, besides our private charities, which it would 
be unbecomin*^ to particularise. Building, therefore, 
these hospitals, churches, &c., in the aforesaid cities, I 
caused to be depicted under the said fourth arch, the 
most true and essential marks and signs of this art, 
yet under veils and types and hieroglyphical charac- 
ters ; demonstrating to the w'ise and men of under- 
standing, the direct and perfect way of operation and 
liiieary work of the philosopher's stone ; which being 
perfected by any one, takes away from him the root of 
all sin and evil ; changing his evil into good, and mak- 
ing him liberal, courteous, religious, fearing God, how- 
ever wicked he was before, provided only he carries 
through the work to its legitimate end. For from 
thenceforward he is continually ravished with the 
goodness of God, and wdth his grace and mercy, which 
he has obtained from the fountain of eternal goodness ; 
with the profundity of his Divine and adorable power, 
and wath the contemplation of his admirable works. 

Part of this relation is given of himself by the au- 
thor in his Hieroglyphics, and part is taken from his 
Testament ; and chronicles recount as late as the year 
1740, that the evidence of his charitable deeds re- 
mained and the symbols of the art in the cemetery of 
the Holy Innocents at the church of St. James, on 
the Marivaux door, at the portal of St. Geneveve, 
&c.,^ Amongst the writings of Flammel, besides 
those already quoted from, we have Le Sommaire Phi- 
losophicjae, in French verse, which is also translated 
in the Theatruni Chemicuni, an esteemed w^ork, with 
important annotations at the end ; Le Desir desire, and 
Lk Grande Eclaircissement , wdiich are more rarely to 
be met with. 

The Isaacs, father and son, Dutch adepts, are said 
to have worked successfully, and are much lauded by 

' See Histoire Hermetique, vol. i. p. 20G ; Lives of the Adepts, 
p. 38. Les Hieroglyphiques de N. Flammel. 

Preliminary Account. 43 

Boerhaave, who appears not either to have been a 
stranger to their pursuit or to the principles of occult 

But Basil Valentine is the star of the fifteenth cen- 
tury ; he is generally reported to have been a Benedic- 
tine hermit ; but a mystery hangs about his indivi- 
duality which has never been satisfactorily cleared up, 
though careful researches have been made, and his 
numerous w^orks written in all languages, called forth 
nmch curiosity on their appearance and have been held 
in high estimation by students in the Hermetic art. 
He ranks high amongst his brethren for having, as 
they say, discovered a new method of working the 
Red Elixir, and facilitated the process materially, which 
had been hitherto laborious and a rare effect, as ap- 
pears from those lines of Norton. 

How that manie men patient and wise, 
Found our White Stone with exercise ; 
After that they were trewly taught, 
With great labor, that stone they caught ; 
But few (saith he) or scarcely one ; 
In fifteen kingdoms hath our Red Stone. 
Whom to seeke it availeth right noughte, 
Till the white medicine be fully wrought ; 
Neither Albertus Magnus, the Blacke Freere, 
Neither Freer Bacon his compeere. 
Had not of our Eed Stone consideration 
Him to increase in multiplication, &c.^ 

The Hamburg edition of Basil Valentine's works 
may be considered the most perfect.^ The English 
translations are rambling and incomplete ; with the 
single exception of that one which is taken from the 
Latin of Kirchringius, with his admirable commentary 
on the Triumphal Chariot of Antimony and Stone 
of Fii^e. The Twelve Keys are rendered in the Biblio- 
theque des Philosopher Chimiques, second edition. 

A valuable collection of English Alchemy in verse 

1 Joan Isaac HoUandus de Lapide Philosophico, Francf. 1G69. 
Isaac Hollandus Opera Universalia, sive de Lapide Philm., &c. 

2 Norton's Ordiuall, chap. 5. 

^ Chimische Schriiften, Fr. Basillii A^alentinii, in 12mo. 1717. 

44 Exoteric View. 

was published by Elias Ashmole, himself a lover of 
occult science, and the great patron, in his day, of 
those who made it their study. Neither was he igno- 
rant of the subject, if we may judge by the preface 
and curious notes appended to his Tlicatrum, wherein 
he exposes certain principles of magic, and alludes 
to the manual artifice without much disguise. I 
must profess, says he, I know enough to hold my 
tongue, but not enough to speak ; and the no less real 
than miraculous fruits I have found, in my diligent 
inquiry in these arcana, lead me on to such degrees 
of admiration, they command silence, and force me 
to lose my tongue, lest, being not wholly experi- 
enced, as he goes on to say, I should add to the 
many injuries the world has already suffered, by de- 
livering the bare medley of my apprehensions without 
the confident attestation of practice ; and be justly es- 
teemed as indiscrete as those whom Ripley mentions, 
that prate, 

Wyth wondreng. 
Of Eobiu Hood, and of his Bow, 
Whycli never sliot therin I trow.^ 

Norton's Ordinal, dated 1477, with which this 
Hermetic Theatre opens, is a praiseworthy perform- 
ance, and with the exception of the Subject Matter 
and certain preliminaries, which are constantly con- 
cealed, the process is presented in a candid, orderly, 
^ and attractive manner. So much cannot be said for 

0( the Cannon Ripley, of Bridlington, wdiose private mis- 

fortunes would seem to have made him envious. His 
composition is disorderly, and those Tivelve Gates 
have, we conceive, little edified any without the 
Lodge. Added also to his own wilful misguidance, the 
verses are said to have suffered spoliation and dis- 
placement from the order in which they were originally 
written, according to the mischievous cabalistic method 
in vogue at that time. Ripley, therefore, is univer- 
sally complained of, though reputed a good adept. 

^ Aslnnole's Tlieatruin C'lieuiicum Britanicum, London, 1652. 

Preliminary Account. 45 

The commentary published by the celebrated Anony- 
mous adept Eireneus Philalethes, under the title of 
Riplej/ Jxevived , though itexplains a great deal practically 
and may soom to lead on the initiated, yet will appear in- oCevz^"^^ 
famously sophistical and inevitably disgust a beginner.^ 

All Ashmole's collection is valuable, even were it 
only as a specimen of early mystic literature. The 
Fragment from Pierce, the Black Monke, Bloomfield's 
Blossoms, and Philosophy and Experience, are amongst 
the most instructive. Ashmole's intention of collect- 
ing the English prose writings on Alchemy was not 
accomplished ; only a few scattered portions were edited 
and these not of the best. 

Ficinus, an Italian of highly cultivated genius, w^ell 
known as the Latin translator of Plato, and saviour 
of other valuable remnants of antique literature, was 
also an amateur in the Hermetic art. He collected 
and translated the works imputed to Hermes, before 
mentioned, from Greek into Latin, and took pains 
elsewhere theoretically to explain the art.^ Picus, 
prince di Mirandola, was his contemporary, and wrote 
a treatise, in which he connects Alchemy w^ith the 
most profound metaphysical science.^ 

Then w^e have the remarkable instance of Cornelius 
Agrippa, a man of pow^erful and penetrating genius, 
who, having possessed himself of the means and prin- 
ciples of the Occult Science from his friend, the wary 
and learned Abbot Trithemius, set to work something it 
would seem after the example of Friar Bacon, proving 
them in a self-sufficient order. His three books Of 
Occult Philosophy, especially the first tw^o, illustrate 
the practical bias and enterprising nature of his mind ; 
but as he declares, he had not, when he wrote them, 
arrived at a full experience, nor was he able to make 

1 Ripley Eevived, being au Exposition of Sir George Ripley's 
Gates, and his Epistle to King Edward, by Eireneus Philalethes. 

2 Marsilii Ficini Elorent. Liber de Arte Chemica. 

'^ J. E. Picus, de Auro in Theat. Cliem. vol. ii. ; also, J. F. P. 
MirandolfB Domini, Concordieque, Opus Aureum de Auro. Idem, 
Libri tres de Auro turn conficiendo, &e. 

46 Exoteric View. 

the philosopher's stone. But it was this discovery, 
made later in Ufe, which caused him to be discontent- 
ed with his former revelation, and to publish that 
book on the Vanity of the Sciences, which has been 
considered as a recantation of his former philoso- 
phy ; but which is in fact no recantation at all, but a 
consummation rather and conclusion in general of his 
works. Any one taking- the pains to read may per- 
ceive that Agrippa WTote it neither in ignorance nor in 
despair of human knowdedge. It was by searching 
and proving the magnitude of the Mystery, that he 
arrived at that final and convictive faith, which is as 
much above ordinary science as the \ailgar credulity of 
mankind is below it. It is not the part of a mind, 
sane and philosophic, to fall back content in igno- 
rance, or to retrograde passively in despair of its object. 
The vanity of particular and temporal sciences is dis- 
covered by comparison only in the broad day light of 
universal truth ; and there stood the magician at last 
wdien, as it were fi'om the top of Celsus' ladder, look- 
ing down upon the steps by which he had climbed, and 
wdiereon he had successively rested, he observed their 
inferiority and the small, prospect they afforded in 
comparison wath that which he now, at their clear 
summit, enjoyed. Let any one read from the Vanity 
of the Sciences the chapter on Alclicmii, and judge 
wdiether the author contradicts, as report has said, or 
contemns merely the experience of his early youth ; 
and where, after showing the folly of pretenders, 
speaking of the genuine Hermetic art, he says, — I 
could tell many things of this art, if I had not sworn 
to keep silence, and this silence is so constantly and 
religiously observed of the ancient philosophers, that 
there is found no faithful writer of approved authority, 
that hath openly described this art : which thing has 
induced many to believe that all books of this art 
were but of late years invented, &c. Finally of the 
one blessed stone alone, besides which there is no 
other thing, the subject of the most holy stone of 
philosophers, to speak rashly, w'ould be a sacrilege 

Preliminary Account. 47 

and I should be foresworn.^ Looking to the final 
chapters of the same work also, we observe the ground 
of the whole Hermetic philosophy laid out, and the 
relative vanity of worldly science to that, which is 
universal, rational, and divine. The capabilities of the 
subject are great; and had it been treated in the usual 
full and masterly style of the scholar of Nettesheim, 
it would have remained a work of lasting value ; but 
he was fettered by oaths and had been somewhat con- 
science stricken; and the monks, whom he had formerly 
censured, eagerly promulgated the whole as a recanta- 
tion of foraier errors, holding it up in this light and 
as an acknowledgment of the sufficienc}'^ of their own 
doctrine and of the common faith for salvation. 

In the beginning of his extraordinary career, Theo- 
phrastus Paracelsus proposed openly to discover the 
hidden secret of philosophy ; but the world scoffed at 
his pretensions, abused and persecuted him ; and all 
the revenge he indulged in, was to leave it unenlight- 
ened. The writings he put forth are, with few excep- 
tions, filled with subtle malice, as it were, so many 
sarcasms upon mankind, and leading them far away, 
through alluring sophisms, from the straight way of 
truth. Surely, as Ashmole remarks, incredulity appears 
to have been given to the world as a punishment ; yet 
neither in its belief did it speed better, but has still 
plodded on in error for want of thought, and through 
all ages men have suffered in ignorance, on account 
mainly of the indifference and selfishness of their de- 
sires. Of the numerous books attributed to Paracelsus, 
and given together as his works, the three Addresses 
to the Aiheuiaris, and the Aurora, are amongst the 
best. Those to the Athenians have been translated 
into English, and published with The Philosopliy of 
J. Crollius, a disciple, and the Aurora also is to be 
met with, though more rarely, in company with the 
Water Stone uf the Wise Men, by J. Grasseus. Witli 
respect to the private history and character of this ex- 
traordinary man, accounts differ, and opinions accord- 

1 See De Vanitate Scientiarum, Alcli. &e. 

48 Exoteric View. 

ingly ; but his fame, and the authority of his doctrine, 
lasted down through a long period of time. His early 
death has been adduced as an argument against the 
probability of his being possessed of the elixir he 
boasts ; and by others as a proof of his having been 
poisoned : but the poison of intemperance and irre- 
gular living has also been considered as especially likely 
to be fatal to one who was in the habit of taking a 
potent spiritual medicine, which w^ould heighten the 
physical consequences of depravity and habitual ex- 
cess, and accelerate dissolution in the conflict of op- 
posite principles.^ Paracelsus, notwithstanding the 
world's neglect, had numerous disciples, increasing 
also after his decease : some intelligent and worthy 
the name of philosophers, as Van Helmont, Crollius, 
Fludd, Helvetius, Faber, and many more anonymous ; 
but there were others, mountebank pretenders, more 
in number still, who, pursuing the baser line of their 
master's example, whilst they enviously suppressed the 
little truth they kneW', wrote and practised for lucre, 
leading mankind into error and the commitment even 
of egregious crimes by their receipts. And the world 
which would not be drawn by the true light, gave 
easy way to their false stimulants, and encouraged the 
enemies' growth in literature, until the tares possessed 
the field ; nor could it be well otherwise, as a modern 
adept has observed on the occasion, for this bushel 
being placed over the light, the darkness of it invited 
ignorance abroad. 

The burlesques of Erasmus, which, towards the 
close of the sixteenth century, were turned upon the 
follies then continually going on amongst the cre- 
dulous chemists and their dupes, show that it was the 
prevailing mania of the age ; when rich men and 
potentates fell easily into the snares of the low^est 
vagabonds, who had acquired the tact only to write 
and talk mysteriously. Chaucer, in the tale of the 
Chanons Yeoman, gives an example of this kind of 
the boastings, bereavements, and surpassing beliefs 

^ Seo LiA'es of the Alcliemists, p. ^)2. 

Preliminary Account. 49 

of ignorance ; as Ripley also, in his Et^rofteous Expe- 
riments, tells how he 

Made solucyoiis full many a one, 

Of spyrytts, ferments, salts, yerne and Steele ; 

AVenyng so to make the philosopliers stone ; 

But finally I lost eche dele, 

After my boks yet wrought I well ; 

Wliich evermore untrew I provyd, 

That made me oft full sore agrevyd. 

Waters corrosyve and waters ardent. 

With which I wrought in divers wyse, 

Many one I made but all was shent ; 

Egg shells I calcenyd twyse or thryse, 

Oylys fro calcys I made up ryse ; 

And every element fro other I did twyne 
But profytt found I ryght none therein. 

Also I wrought in sulphur and in vitriall, 
Whych folys doe caU the Grene Lyon, 
In arsenicke, in orpemint, fowle mot them fall ; 
In delibi principio was myne inceptyon : 
Therefore was frawde in fyne the conclusyon : 

And I blew my thryft at the cole, 

My clothys were bawdy, my stomache was never hole, 

I provyd uryns, eggs, here, and blod. 
The scalys of yern whych smethys do off smyte, 
Qj]s, ust, and crokefer whych dyd me never good : 
The sowle of Saturn and also marchisyte, 
Lythage and antimony not worth a myte : 
Of whych gey tinctures I made to shew, 
Both red and white whych were untrew, 

Oyle of Lune and water wyth labor greatt, 
I made calcynyng yt with salt precipytate. 
And by hytself with vyolent heatt 
Grindyng with vynegar tyll I was fatygate : 
And also with a quantitye of spyces acuate ; 
Upon a marble whych stode me oft in cost 
And oyles with corrosyves I made ; but all was lost. 
Thus I rostyd and boy 1yd as one of Geber's cooks. 
And oft tymes my wynnyng in the asches I sought ; 
For I was dysceivyd wyth many falce books 
Whereby untrue, thus truly I wrought : 
But all such experyments avaylyd me nought ; 
But brought me in danger and in cumbraunce. 
By loss of goods and other grievaunce, &c.^ 

' An Admonition of Erroneous Experiments, Theat. Chem. 
Brit. p. 189. 


50 Exoteric View. 

The tide so long encroaching, however, began at 
last to fluctuate ; and as mistrust, gathering fi'om dis- 
appointment, ripened, a change somewhat suddenly 
took place in the public mind, and turned finally into 
an absolute odium of the deluding alchemists and their 
art. Then it was that several were obliged to retire 
into exile ; and even the true adepts — for the public 
knew^ not to distinguish — suffered equal cruelty and 
abundant inconvenience. They who before had been 
courted and lauded in hopes of obtaining gold, or the 
means of making it, were arrested and tortured, in 
order to extort confession ; accordingly we find mixed 
up with their philosophy, bitter complaints of injury, 
thefts, murders, and unjust imprisonments. Alex- 
ander Sethon was hunted through Europe in disguise, 
not daring to remain in any town, for fear of de- 
tection. — I am suffering, says this author, in his 
Open Entrance^ a continual banishment : deprived 
of the society of friends and family, and, as if driven 
by the Furies, am compelled constantly to fly from 
place to place and from kingdom to kingdom, with- 
out delaying anywhere. And thus, though I possess 
all things, I have no rest or enjoyment of any, except 
in the truth, which is my whole satisfaction. They 
who have not a knowledge of this art imagine, if they 
had, they would do many things : I also thought 
the same, but am grow^n circumspect b}^ experience of 
many dangers and the peril of life. I have seen so 
much corruption in the world, and those even who 
pass for good people are so ruled by the love of 
gain, that I am constrained even from the works of 
mercy, for fear of suspicion and arrest. I have expe- 
rienced this in foreign countries, Avhere, ha^dng ven- 
tured to administer the medicine to sufferers given 
over by physicians, the instant the cures became 
known, a report was spread about of the Elixir, and I 
have been obliged to disguise myself, shave my head, 
and change my name, to avoid falling into the hands 
of wicked persons, who would try to ^^Test the secret 
from me, in hopes of making gold. I could relate 

Preliminary Account. 51 

many incidents of this kind which have happened to 
me. Would to God that gold and silver were as 
common as the street mud ; we should not then be i/Lj^ 
obliged to fly and hide ourselves, as if we were ac- 
cursed like Cain.' Michael Sendivogius was im- //p 
prisoned by his prince ; even the pious Kiiinrath is r/iiA^ 
moved to bitterness, when speaking of the treatment / / 

he had experienced : George Von Welling, Fichtuld, 
Miiller, Harprecht, also ; for the good and innocent 
now suffered more and more everywhere for the impo- 
sitions of knaves, and were therefore compelled to 
be silent and more than ever cautious to conceal their 
names, with the evidence of Alchemy, from the world. 
And as the mind of the day became gradually engaged 
in puritanical discussions, and the interests of political 
leaders, indifference to the art again succeeded, and a 
scepticism, as blind, and nearly as pernicious as the 
former credulity, settled upon the minds of men. 
But philosophers were content to have it so ; observ- 
ing the incapability of the common herd, and how 
little they cared for truth, or the witness of nature's 
greatest miracles, in comparison w^ith their own selfish 
emolument. Some gathered themselves together for 
better protection, and carrying on their work into the 
Rosicrucian Fraternity, a widely celebrated, though 
secret association, established, as the report is, by a 
German adeptist, who had travelled into the East, 
and in Arabia was initiated into many arcane mysteries 
of nature. Their Fame and Confession, wdth the story 
of their first institution, has been rendered into Eng- 
lish, with an excellent Preface, by Thomas Vaughan, 
and an Appendix, showing the true nature of their 
philosophy, place of abode, and other particulars con- 
nected with their magian prowess and renown. 

But we must not omit to notice the names of Dee 
and Kelly, two notorious magicians of Queen Eliza- 
beth's time ; for though the latter was somewhat of 
a knave, and a little over-presumptuous, yet there is 

^ See Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Keg6M*i Palaties (?ap- xiii. 

E 2 

52 Exoteric View, 

reason to believe that he practised transmutation, 
and became possessed of the Red Powder by some 
secret kind of information, if not of the means of 
perfecting it by his own art. Thus it was generally 
reported of Dr. Dee and Kelly, that they were so 
strangely fortunate as to discover a very large quan- 
tity of the Powder of Projection in a niche amongst 
the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, and which was so 
rich in virtue (being 1 upon 272,330), that they lost a 
great portion in trial, before they found out the true 
height of the medicine. With this treasure they went 
abroad, fixed their abode at Trebona, and transmuted 
occasionally. In Dee's diary we have the account of 
Kelly making projection with one small grain (in pro- 
portion no larger than the least grain of sand) upon 
an ounce and a quarter of common mercury, which 
produced almost an ounce of pure gold.^ Then there 
is the story of the warming-pan, related by Ashmole, 
from no very distant testimony, of a piece of the metal 
being cut out and, without Kelly's touching or hand- 
ling it, or melting the copper even, only warming it 
in the fire, the elixir being projected thereon, it was 
transmuted into pure silver. The pan, he goes on to 
relate, was sent to the Queen Elizabeth by her ambas- 
sador, who then lay at Prague ; that, by fitting the 
piece into the place whence it was cut out, it might 
exactly prove to be once a part of that pan. Broom- 
field had likewise seen in the hands of one Master 
Trye and Scroope, rings of Sir Edward Kelly's gold, 
the fashion of which was only gold wire twisted thrice 
about the finger ; of wdiich fashioned rings he gave 
away to the value of 4000/. at the marriage of one of 
his servants. This was highly generous ; but, to say 
the truth, he was openly profuse beyond the modest 
limits, as Ashmole observes, of a sober philosopher.^ 
This kind of profusion has been fi'equently exhibited 
by such as are reported to have come by the treasure 

1 Dee's Diary, Sept. 1586. 

^ See notes appendeil to the Tlieat. Chem. Brit. 

Preliminary Account. 53 

casually, never by those who have themselves con- 
fected it. 

During the abode at Trebona, Dee and Kelly 
appear to have tried many experiments, and their 
conversations with their spiritual informants are lu- 
dicrously mundane and abortive.^ Whether or not 
they finally succeeded in the object of their research, 
remains uncertain ; the story runs that they did not, 
but that the secret of making the Powder was con- 
fided to Kelly some years afterwards by a dying monk. 
In Dee's Diary, towards the latter end, there cer- 
tainly are expressions of joy and gratitude, as if he 
had suddenly attained to some great and important 
discovery ; — Hgec est dies quam fecit Dominus, omne 
quod vivit laudet Dominum ; — and upon the thirtieth 
day of the month following, he writes, — Master E. 
Kelly did open the great secret to me, God be 

Things were not carried on so privately abroad, but 
the Queen had notice of the proceedings of her sub- 
jects ; and she sent letters and messages summoning 
them to return home : Dee obeyed, but Kelly re- 
maining behind, was taken prisoner by the Emperor 
Rudolph, who had long set a watch over their move- 
ments. It was during this detention, that he wrote 
that little book, entitled De Lapide Philosophurum, 
which is commonly to be met with, but is of little 
more value than repute. The death of Kelly is in- 
volved in mystery, and Dee is said to have expired in 
poverty at Mortlake. 

The writings of Jacob Bohme, the profound theo- 
sophist of Prague, and those of the Pordage and 
Lead school, may not be undervalued, since these en- 
thusiasts were all on the same original track ; and the 
first would seem to have attained something better 
even than a view of the Promised Land. Moreover, 
Bohme has discovered such a ground of experience 

^ See " A true and faithful Relation of what passed for many 
Years between Dr. John Dee and some Spirits." The book is 
comparatively rare : London, 1659. 

54 Exoteric View. 

and principles of the Divine Art in his writings, as 
may help the student to conceive profoundly, and 
lead liim to the means of understanding the enigmas 
of the old adepts. For this author is, of all who have 
hitherto entered experimentally into the mystery, the 
plainest, simplest, and most confidential exponent. The 
Aurora, or Daj/ Spring ; The Discourse of the Three 
Principles ; The Alj/sterium Magnum ; The Tree of 
Life ; The Turned Eye, or Forty Questions concerning 
the Life of Man, and his Epistles, are full of explicit 
indications concerning the physical basis of magic and 
occult material of the philosopher's stone. ^ So that 
the following eulogy, copied from a manuscript found 
in a volume of his works, may not be considered mis- 
placed, or altogether extravagant : — 

AVhate'er the Eastern Magi sought, 
Or Orpheus sung, or Hermes taught, 
Wliate'er Coufucius would inspire, 
Or Zoroaster's mystic fire ; 
The symbols that Pythagoras tlreAv, 
The wisdom godlike Plato knew, 
What Socrates debating proved, 
Or Epictetus lived and loved ; 
The sacred fire of saint and sage, 
Thro' every clime in every age, 
In Bohme's wondi'ous page we view, 
Discover'd and revealed anew, &c. 

Revealed anew, it will be observed, theosophically, 
but not intellectually. Nothing, since the Greeks, has 
been found to approach their doctrine of Wisdom in 
perspicuity, grace of utterance, and scientific exphca- 
tion of the divine source. Of all the successors on the 
same road, none have exceeded their authority, and 
very few have attained to the perfect veracity and 
ideality of their ground ; but of this hereafter. Nu- 
merous works on Alchemy have issued from the 
German press, detailing the experience of excellent 
and learned adepts ; amongst those of later years, 

' See Bohme's Works, edited by Law and others, 4 vols. Ito. 

Preliminary Account. 55 

may be mentioned Ambrose and Phillip Miiller ; ^ Her- 
man Fichtuld;^ and his friend George Von Welling;^ 
J, Crollius ; '^ the Van Helmonts, father and son ; ^ 
Grasseus, the reputed author of the Water Stone,^ a 
personal friend of Bohme's ; Henry K«iinrath, a 
pious and learned adeptist ; '' Andrew Libavius ; ^ 
J. J. Beccher;^ and J. Tollius, a Dutchman, and 
an elegant classical expositor on the same ground. ^^ 
Faber, also ; ^^ but of all those who have connected 
ancient fable with philosophy, and explained them by / • 
the Hermetic key, Michael Ma/ er ranks first ; and his ^ ^ 
works are more esteemed and sought after, even in the 
present day, than is easily accountable, since he is pro- 
foundly guarded in his revelations.^^ Highly curious 
engravings and woodcuts adorn the w^orks of these 
authors, and even the title-pages of many of them 
convey more idea and food for reflection, than other 

^ Philippi MuUeri Miracula et Mysteria Medico- Cheinica, 
Wirtemburg, 1656. Amb. Miiller's Paradeis-Spiegel, Launen- 
burg, 1704. 

2 Probier Steiu, Prancf. 1740. 

^ Opus Mago-Cabbalist. &c., Prancf. 1760. 

** Crollius, Philosopby Reformed, &c., trans, by Pinnel, Lon- 
don, 1657. 

^ Van Helmont de Ortu Medicinse has been translated under 
the title of Oreatrike, or Physic Eeformed. J. B. V. Hehnout, 

" Das "Wasser-Stein des "Weissens, is translated into English 
and into Latin in the Musaeum Hermeticum ; Area Arcano, 
Lillium inter Spinas, &c., by the same Author, are in the collec- 
tion of Manget. 

' Amphitheat. Sapientise Eternae, in fol. 1608. Magnesia Ca- 
thoiica, &c. 

** And. Libavius, Opera Omnia Medica, in fol. 2 vols. A pon- 
derous compilation. 

^ Physica Subterrauea, Lips. 8vo. Idem, ffidipus Chemicus 
Aperius Mysteria, &c. Prancf. 1664. Idem, Laboratorium Chi- 
micum, Prancf. 1680. 

^^ Tollii Portuita, Amst. 1687. Manuductio ad Caelum Chemi- 
cum, 1688. Sapientia Insanies, sive Promissa Chemica. 

^1 Opera Medico-Chimica, 2 vols. 4to. Prancf. 1652. / 

^^ Symbola Aur/ae Menste. Idem, Ulysses. Idem, Septimana "^/ 
Philosophica, I'are ; Arcana Arcanissima,h. e. Hieroglyphica ^gyp- 
tiaca Grseca, rare ; Atalanta Pugiens, sive Scrutineum Chemicum 
Emblemata, Themis Aurea, Yiatorium, &c. &c. 


56 Exoteric View. 

modern tomes, oftentimes throughout the whole of 
their development. 

The Novum Lumtn Chemicum, which passes under 
the name of Michael Sendivogius, the Pohsh adept, is 
one of the best known and popular of modern works 
on the subject. It has been translated into English, 
by John French, also a practitioner;^ whose introduc- 
tory preface is bold and striking, and was published 
in London under the title of The New Light of Al- 
cheiny, with the nine books of Paracelsus, Dc Natura 
Renim, in 1650. This New Light, professedly drawn 
from the fountain of nature, and grounded in manual 
experience, is cleverly handled, and of an attractive 
character ; though in consequence of the wilful dis- 
order and perplexity of the composition, repeated pe- 
rusal and a certain knowledge are requisite, in order to 
gather its recondite drift; and so much the more, as 
its theory and asserted facts are at variance with our 
common conceptions and experience of the possibility 
of nature. The French edition of this work, also, has 
been translated by Digby, and contains, besides the 
Treatise on Salt omitted in the above, other curious 
additions, with a concluding Dialogue, which is instruc- 

There is a multitude of little English books on 
alchemy afloat on the book -stalls ; amongst them some 
original, well -written and worthy of perusal; for al- 
though Britain has not been so fertile in adepts as 
France and Germany, yet her scarce ones have been 
great ; the profundity and comparative candour of their 
writings, being very generally acknowledged by their 
foreign compeers ; to which Dafresnoy, though him- 
self a sceptic, in his Histoire Hevmetique bears this 
characteristic witness. — D'ailleurs on ne scauroit dis- 
convenir que les Anglois n'ecrivent sur la science her- 
metique avec beaucoup de lumiere et de profondeur. 
lis y font paroitre leur jugement et leur esprit de re- 

^ See French's Art of Distillatiou. 

- Seiidivogius's New Light of Alchemy, hv John Digby, Lon- 
don, 1722. 

Preliminary Account. 57 

flexion. II seroit a souhaiter qu'ils portassent la 
meme attention et la meine maturite a tout ce qu'ils 
entreprennent, on seroit beaucoup plus content d'eux 
et ils ne s'exposerait pas a perdre I'estime des autres 
nations comme ils s'y risquent tous les jours. ^ 

This piece of flattering French testimony refers, we 
suppose, to the writings of our early adepts ; other- 
wise, of all that have flourished in latter times, the 
most celebrated and facile pr biceps, is that Anony- / 
mous who styles himself Eiren^us Philalethes : the ^26/ 
many works that have appeared under this signa- 
ture indicate so excellent and perfect an artist, that 
his brethren, always speaking with admiration, unani- 
mously award him the garland. Yet of himself, his 
name, and habits of hfe nothing is known ; no cotem- 
porary mentions him ; Starlvy, indeed, professes to 
have been his servant once for a time in America, and 
to have assisted him in the art ; and describes him as 
an English gentleman of an ancient and honourable 
family then living on his own estate and rarely 
learned. — I saw, says he, in my master's possession the 
White and Red elixir in very large quantity ; he gave 
me upwards of two ounces of the White medicine of 
sufficient virtue to convert 120,000 times its weight 
into the purest silver : with this treasure I went to 
work ignorantly and was caught in the trap of my 
own covetousness, for I expended or wasted nearly 
all this tincture, and did not know its value until it 
was nearly gone. However, I made projection of a 
part, and have tinged many hundreds of ounces by it 
into the best silver: of a pound of mercury I have 
made within less than a scruple of a pound of silver, / 
&c.^ It is also reported, that Eiren^us was intimate ' /P^f 
with the chemist Boyle ; but the rumours are all un- 
certain, and, as if to increase the mystery, he has been 
confounded with other English adepts, as Harprecht 
and Thomas Vaughan, and his writings also with 
those of Sendivogius, who has been identitied with 

^ Vol. i, page MS. 

- See Starky's Pyroiecliny Asserted. 

58 Exoteric View. 

him under the name of Alexander Sethon and others. 
He himself informs us that he was born in England, 
somewhere towards the beginning of the 1 7th century, 
that he possessed the secret at a ver}-^ early age, and 
was the victim of unremitting persecution. His prin- 
cipal works are, An Open Entrance to the Shut 
Palace of the King, Ripley Revived, The__Mar- 
y/ row o f Alchemy , in verse ; Metal lor iini Metamor- 
phoses, Brevis Manuductio ad Rubinum Ca'lestum, Fons 
ChemiccE Veritatis, and a few others in the MuscEum 
Her)neticntn and in Manget's collection. 

Thomas Vaughan, whose pseudonym^ of Eugenius 
Philalethes has, notwithstanding the 'very obvious 
distinction of his mind and style, caused him to be 
confounded with the foregoing Eireneus, was the au- 
thor of several luminous little treatises, bearing on the 
higher grounds of this mystic science, full of ideas 
and the recondite spirit of antiquity. In these Vaughan 
makes casual reference to the gold-making possibihty, 
but is at little pains to attract in this direction, or 
indicate, as is usual, any sophistic order of practical 
operation ; and thus repelling impertinent inquiry, 
he leads at once to the true and only valuable 
speculation of the subject. Moreover, unless we be 
mistaken, the one Art and medium of vital perfect- 
ibility is more clearly shown in his writings than in 
those of any other English author. They are as fol- 
low: Magia Adamica, or The Antiquity of Magic ; 
whereto is added, A Discovery of the Caelum Teme, 
or Magician's Heavenly Chaos; Aiithrojwsopliia 
Theomagica, a discourse on the nature of man 
grounded on the protochemistry of Hermes, and veri- 
fied by a practical examination of principles ; Anima 
Magia Abscondita, a discourse of the universal spirit 
of nature, with its strange, abstruse, and miraculous 
ascent and descent ; Euphrates, or Waters of the 
East, a practical discourse of that secret fountain 
whose water flows from Are ; Lumen de Lumine, a 
new nragical light discovered and consummated, with 
an allegorical display of the tirst matter, and other va- 

(flf(d^t7i-^ " ^-< ^.A''-^ ^.^^- -J^^^-y ^ U^^^y 

Preliminary Account. 59 

luable magnetical introductions and guides. This au- 
tlior's death is reported to have befallen extraordinarily, 
something after the manner of the poet Virgils, and 
from an overdose of the elixir; nor should it appear won- 
derful, as the narrative runs, that the subtle light of life 
should in these instances have been swallowed up in the 
superior attraction of a greater flame. Agrippa gives 
a similar account of the death of Alexander the Great, 
we know not on what authority, saying that he died 
suddenly by the hand of his preceptor, adimnister'mg 
the venom of the ivattrs of Styx, to whom the youthful 
monarch had previously intrusted his life, body and 
soul, without reservation.^ 

The Authors we have brought forward as distin- 
guished and genuine, are but few in comparison with 
the whole number ; some reckon as many as four 
thousand ;^ but there are enough without forcing any 
into the ranks. Borrichius, from standing testimony, 
counts as many as two thousand five hundred.^ 
L'Englet Dufresnoy has reduced the number still 
more, but then he was ignorant of the subject and 
excludes according to titles, rather than the matter, 
of several books covertly treating of the Hermetic art.'^ 
The Bodleian library contains many hundred volumes 
by separate authors. The Royal Library of France 
was reputed still richer in 1742, especially in manu- 
scripts ; and the Vatican and Escurial have large and 
valuable collections in the same branch. 

And it is in these archives alone that the ancient Art 
is now preserved, in which we hoard the memory of 
long bygone hopes. To declare a man an Alchemist 
in the present day would be to brand him as insane, 
and the Hermetic ground is as far out of the road of 
common thought as if it were tabooed ; not indeed that 
any one regards it as sacred, but devilish rather, or 

^ Yauity of the Sciences, c. 54;. 
2 Petri Borelli Bibliot. Chem. Paris, 1656. 
•^ De Ortu et Progressu Cliimise. 

'* Histoire Hermetique, torn. iii. accompagnee d'une Catalogue 
Kaisonnee des Ecrivains de cette Science, Paris, 1762. 

60 Exoteric View. 

delirious, or ridiculous, as the bias may be. Mean- 
while, therefore, to reconcile this science or the teach- 
ers of it to the world, we should feel to be a task 
above our ability, were it very far greater than it is ; 
the prejudice having grown so old and strong that 
neither reason nor authority is longer able to balance 
it. But in whatever light we be disposed to regard 
Alchemy, whether as the acme of human folly, or, con- 
trariwise, as the recondite perfection of wisdom and 
causal science, it appears almost equally remarkable : 
considered in the former way, we have before us a 
huge monument of avarice, mad credulity, and fraud 
accumulating on continually from immemorial time, 
with the deplorable conclusion, that the greater part 
of those to whom the world has been taught to look 
up as philosophical authorities were in fact dupes and 
worse deceivers ; on the other hand, if we hesitate in 
thus denouncing all the many well-approved and reli- 
gious professors of this art, and suppose them, even in 
this particular, to have been sincere, what then ought 
we to conclude? That they were deluded ? It is true 
their assertions are startling, their promises huge and 
improbable, but then the means of realization proposed 
are actual ; the transmutation of metallic bodies was a 
proof addressed to the senses and so uniformly stated 
as to preclude subterfuge or any medium fulfilment. 
— I have seen the Stone and handled it, says Van 
Helmont, and have projected the fourth part of one 
grain, wrapped in paper, upon eight ounces of quick- 
silver boiling in a crucible, and the quicksilver, with a 
small voice, presently stood still from its flux, and 
was congealed like to yellow wax; and after a flux by 
blast we found eight ounces all but eleven grains which 
were w^anting of the purest gold ; therefore, one grain 
of this powder would transmute 1918G parts of quick- 
silver into the best gold. I am constrained to be- 
lieve, for I have made projections divers times of one 
grain of the philosopher's gold upon some thousands 
of grains of boiling quicksilver, to the admiration and 
tickling of a great multitude. He who gave me that 

Preliminary Account. 61 

powder (the stranger Butler, whom he first found in 
prison) had so much as would transmute two hundred 
thousand pounds' worth of gold.^ Our tincture of 
gold, says Paracelsus, has within it an astral fire 
w^hich conquers ail things and changes them into a 
nature like to itself ; it is a most fixed substance and 
immutable in the multiplication ; it is a powder having 
the reddest colour, almost like saflfron, yet the whole 
corporeal substance is liquid like resin, transparent like 
crystal, frangible like glass. It is of a ruby colour of 
the greatest weight ; and this is a true sign of the 
tincture of philosophers, that by its transmuting force 
all imperfect metals are changed, and this gold is bet- 
ter than the gold of the mines ; and out of it may be 
prepared better medicines and arcana.^ So likewise 
Friar Bacon says, and Lully, and Arnold in his Spe- 
culum, that he had seen and touched, after much 
labour and industry, the perfect thing transmuting.^ 
And Geber in these words: — The things are manifest 
in which the verity of the work is nigh, and we have 
considered the things perfecting this work by a true 
investigation, with certain experience, whereby we are 
assured that all the words are true which are by us writ- 
ten in our volumes, according as w^e found them by ex- 
periment and reason.^ And again, — By the goodness 
of God's instigation and by our own incessant labour, 
we have searched out and found, and have seen with 
our eyes and handled with our hands the complete- 
ment of matters sought after in our magistery.^ 
And Picus di Mirandola, in his book De Auro : — 
I come now, says the prince, to relate what my eyes 
have seen plainly without veil or obscurity ; one of 
my friends, who is now living, has made gold and sil- 
ver above sixty several times in my own presence, and 
1 have seen it and done it myself.® 

1 Book of Eternal Life, Ortixs. Med. fol. p. 590, &e. 

2 Signatura Eerum, fol. page 358. 

^ Speculum Alchimige, sub initio, Theat. Chem. vol. iv. p. 515. 
^ Epilogue to the Investigation of Verity, Eussel's Geber, p. 20. 
'"' Idem, book i. page 215. 
^ Picus Mirandolee de Auro, lib. iii. cap. 2. 

62 Exoteric View. 

We do not adduce these testimonials in proof either 
of the truth or plausibiHty of the Hermetic art ; but 
to lead on inquiry, without which it would be equally 
vain to believe as to deny ; and further, to show the 
pretension was not ambiguous, but absolutely prove- 
able, if at all, we have the story of the transmutation 
before Gustavus Adolphus in the year 1620, the gold 
of which was coined into medals, bearing the king's 
effigy with the reverse. Mercury and Venus ; and that 
other at Berlin, before the king of Prussia, widely cele- 
brated in 1710.' The story related by Kircher in his 
Mundus Suhttrraneus also is explicit, and that of Hel- 
vetius ; but the foregoing, taken casually, may be suffi- 
cient to indicate that the evidence of Alchemy was 
neither abstract nor hidden, nor 

vaguely opinable, 
But clean, experimental and determinable : — 

and that if there was deception at all, it must have 
been wilful and not the offspring of self-delusion on 
the part of the adepts. And then what should induce 
men to invent, age after age, and to reiterate and con- 
firm a shameful and unpopular falsehood ? — pious her- 
mits and ecclesiastics, physicians and metaphysicians, 
men of high rank and reputation, far above and out of 
the way of sordid allurements, most of whom had in 
fact relinquished station, power, wealth, and worldly 
benefices for the science' sake and the cause of true 
religion? What interest should have moved them, 
even supposing minds so degraded as to deceive so far 
and frequently their fellow-men ? Or shall we con- 
clude that Ripley either was so mad and simple a 
knave as to write the offer to his king to show him 
the actual working of the Stone, if he had possessed 
nothing ? but he even promises to unfold the whole 
confection conditionedly. Would he so far have ven- 
tured, or what motive had he to deceive? 

' See Eorricliius de Ortu et Progressu, the full account ; and 
Dufresnoy, Hist. Herm. vol. ii. 

Preliminary Account. 63 

Never trewly for merke nor for pounde 
Make yt I common ; bnt to you conditioneclly 
That to yourself ye shall keep yt secretly ; 
And only yt use, as may be God's pleasure, 
Els in tyme comynge of God I shoulde abye 
For my discoveringe of hys secrett treasurye.^ 

And if the notion of wilful deceit is improbable ; 
then, their problem being one of tangible facts, it is 
still less likely that they were themselves deceived. — 
I write not fables, says H. K^nrath, in his Amphi- 
theater ; with thine own hands thou shalt handle and 
with thine own eyes thou shalt see Azoth, viz., the Uni- 
versal Mercury, which alone with its internal and exter- 
nal fire is sufficient for thee; wdiich transforms itself into 
what it will by the fire. And again, — I have travelled 
much and visited those esteemed to know somewhat 
by experience and not in vain, amongst whom, I call 
God to witness, I got of one the universal tincture, 
and the blood of the Lion, which is the gold of philo- 
sophers. I have seen it, touched it, tasted it, smelt it, 
and used it efficaciously towards my poor neighbours 
in most desperate cases. Oh, how wonderful is God in 
his works ! ^ 

The liberal mind natm'ally experiences a difficulty 
in disbelieving where, a possibility being granted, the 
testimony in support of a matter is fair and honour- 
able. And though sensible evidence and more than 
this sometimes is required to silence negative assertion ; 
yet reason, supported by her witnesses, may enervate 
it, and induce that strict investigation and thought 
which should always precede experiment, but which 
the multitude have never yet been found willing to 
undertake ; and are consequently led astray in progress, 
and learn as it were by chance. It is said that Lord 
Bacon instituted certain experiments with a view to the 
discovery of the philosopher's stone, and in iheAdvance- 
ment of Learning he faithfully recognises the possibility, 
as does also Sir Isaac Newton in his works ; while Leibnitz 

^ Sir George Eipley's Epistle to King Edward IV., v. 5. 
2 Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Eternse, circa fineni. 


64 Exoteric View. 

devoted his early life to the pursuit : nor did either 
of these great men, though they were practically un- 
successful themselves, condemn the ancient tradition 
or deny its validity. Yet it would seem to be more 
ordinarily natural to the human mind to reject those 
things, which it has neither been early imbued in the 
belief of, nor instructed to understand ; besides indivi- 
dual research into mere possibilities, and because facts 
only are alleged, is too hopeless and arduous for this 
short life, which requires a definite assurance of suc- 
cess, and fruit even from the smallest labour. And 
this is the world's palliation for despising Alchemy, and 
many things which the ancients have asserted in like 
manner, without the requisite means of realization. 
For they would not, nor have they anywhere declared 
openly even the common Subject of their Art ; but 
left mankind to imagine, as they did, all that was 
erroneous concerning it, as of their salts, sulphurs, mer- 
curies, magic elements, and occult confections. What 
a chaos of metaphor and monstrous allusion does not 
the literature of Alchemy at first view present ! With 
what fantastic images and inconclusive positions is it 
not replete — signs, symbolisms, and subtle enigmas 
innumerable, as if to try the ingenuity at every point? 
Contrary to the usual endeavour of writers to enlighten, 
by rendering their ideas intelligible, the adepts appear 
to have had a directly contrary aim, at least so it would 
occur to any one from a cursory survey ; now leading 
along by some ingenious allegory, full of deep and 
exciting suggestions, yet withal enveloped in a mys- 
tery so obscure that without more light, it were im- 
possible to penetrate it ; then, further to seduce, add- 
ing, it may be, another gleam of argument, tantalizing 
the hope and wearying the understanding with un- 
equal assertions, until all passes away again, with all 
possibility of discernment, behind some clouded me- 
taphor or word of warning that the secret of ages 
may not be profaned. A variety of artifices according 
to the cabalistic method, moreover, have been em- 
ployed, and the Hermetic discourses are not unfile- 

Preliminary Account. 65 

quently found introverted in their order, and dis- 
persed with repetitions, to prevent the truth from 
becoming opeidy obvious, even to those who had' 
ah'eady become possessed of the true key ; but only 
of the vestibule and entrance rights ; 

If you consider bow the partes of the werkes 
Be out of order set by the old clerkes, 
As I said before, the masters of this arte, 
Every and eacli of them disclosed but a parte ; 
Wherefore tho' ye perceived tliem as ye woulde, 
Yet ye cannot order or joine them as ye shoulde.^ 

For is not our art cabahstical, asks A±te&is, and LOite^ 
full of mysteries? And you, fool, believe we teach the ""^ 
secret of secrets openly, and understand our words 
according to the letter ; be assured, we are not en- 
vious, but he that takes the philosopher's sayings 
according to the outward sense and signification has 
already lost the clue of Ariadne, and wanders up and 
down the labyrinth, and it would be of the same 
benefit to him as if he had thrown his money into 
the sea.^ And Sendivogius, to the same effect in the 
Preface to the Twelve Treatises, — I would, says he, have 
the candid reader be admonished that he understand 
my writings, not so much from the outside of my 
words as fi'om the possibility of nature ; let him con- 
sider that this Art is for the wise, not for the ignorant ; 
and that the sense of philosophers is of another na- 
ture than to be understood by vaporing Thrasoes, or 
letter learned scoffers, or vicious, against their own con- 
sciences ; or ignorant mountebanks, who, most un- 
worthily defaming the most commendable art of Al- 
chemy, have with theirWhites and Reds deceived almost 
the whole world. ^ And again, in the Epilogue, — All 
things indeed, says the adept, might have been com- 
prehended in a few lines ; but we are willing to guide 
into the knowledge of nature indirectly, by reasons 

^ Norton's Ordinal, cap. ii. 

- Phil. Antiquis. Tract. Secret. 

•'' See New Light of Alchemy, Preface. 

66 Exoteric View. 

and examples : that thou mayest know what the thing 
truly is thou shouldest seek after, also that thou 
mightest have nature, herhghtand shadow, discovered 
to thee. Be not displeased if thou meetest sometimes 
with contradictions in my treatises, it being the custom 
of philosophers to use them ; thou hast need of them : 
if thou understandest them, thou shalt not find a rose 
without prickles.^ 

Each artist striving yt how to conceal 

Lest wretched caitifs shulde the treasure steal. 

Nor vyllains shulde their vyllanyes maintain 

By tliis rare art ; whych danger they to heal 

In horrid metaphors veyled are an art most plain, 

Lest each fool knoAving yt shulde yt when known disdayne.- 

And Roger Bacon advises, therefore, to leave oft' 
experiments until the ground of wisdom is properly 
conceived. — And though I say, take this, and this, 
believe me not (says he) but operate according to the 
blood; i. e., according to the understanding, and so of 
all ; leave off" experiments, apprehend my meaning, 
and you will find, believe me, being a lighted candle.'* 
And Basil Valentine and Eireneus, and most adepts in 
short, warn their readers against running into the 
practice upon vague premises, and before they have 
attained to a full understanding of the matter to be 
taken in hand ; yet, notwithstanding all their injunc*^ 
^ tions, many seekers, and faithful ones too, have been 

c\j^ i/£x^ci<As\Q^ astray: Geber's receipts wsii Basil's^ though at 
variance with all common-sense probability, have been 
the means of surrounding many a literal soul with 
stills, coals, and furnaces, in hope by such lifeless in- 
struments to sublime the Spirit of nature; or by salt, 
sulphur, and mercury, or the three combined with an- 
timony, to extract the Form of gold. But they who 
have thus fallen to practise, without the true Light or 
heeding their injunctions, had no right to charge their 
error on the adepts. The disappointment and misery of 

' Epilogue to the Twelve Treatises. 

2 Eipley's Fiftli Gate. 

^ De Arte Alchemica. p. 315, &c. 

Preliminary Account. 67 

those fanatical chemists having been attributable to their 
own misunderstanding bias, and more frequently owing 
to the deceit of sophists than to the genuine tradition 
of Hermetic science. 

Since difficulties however are apparent, and the pre- 
tenders to the Art were in latter times far more nu- 
merous than the true adepts, and the literature has 
suffered in consequence grievous disgrace and spolia- 
tion, it is not surprising that the public, having been so 
long and grossly deluded, should at length have shut 
out Alchemy from amongst its credenda. If there was 
no desire to search deeper, it was wisely done, and 
checked the raging of a sore distemper. But that 
many have fallen into error and suffered, or others 
proved deceivers, or that the world has chosen to dis- 
believe, are no proofs in philosophy, even if it were 
without so many witnesses, that the Hermetic mystery 
is groundless. The world is fully as ignorant of the 
genuine doctrine and Art of Wisdom as were the im- 
postors whom it repudiated, and their judgment con- 
cerning it is of as little value. The words of the 
philosophers remain, though modern science is not 
able to confirm them, or present anything analogous 
to the powers they professed, not in the advancement 
of the mineral kingdom only, but over all nature. 
And since they unanimously recommend a studious 
examination, in order to conceive rightly of the pro- 
mises held out, before attempting to judge them or 
the pretensions of their Art, we propose to investigate 
preliminarily the theoretic ground and matter on 
which the physical possibility of transmutation rests. 

G8 Exoteric View. 


Of the Theory of Transmutation in general, and of the 
Universal Matter. 

Est in Mercuric quicqiiid quaerunt Sapientes. — Turba Exercif. 1. 

THE theory of Alchemy, though arcane, is very sim- 
ple ; its basis indeed may be comprehended in 
that only statement of Arnold di Villanova, in his 
Specif Unit, — 77?^^ there abides in nature a cet^tain pure 
matter, which, being discovered and brought by art to 
perfection, cotwerts to itself proportionally all imperfect 
bodies that it touches. 

And this would seem to be the true ground of me- 
talline transmutation, and of every other ; namely, 
the homogeneity of the radical substance of things ; 
and on the alleged fact that metals, minerals, and all 
diversified natures, being of the same created first prin- 
ciples, may be reduced into their common basis or 
mercurial first matter, the whole Hermetic doctrine 
appears to hinge and to proceed. 

The multiform body of the world hes open, but the 
source is everywhere occult ; nor does ordinary ana- 
lysis at all discover this Universal Matter of the adepts. 
It has been accordingly objected, that natural species 
cannot be transmutable, because the transmutation of 
different species one into another necessarily implies 
mixtion and a spurious offspring : thus, that if it were 
even admitted possible by any means to infuse gold 
into lead or other inferior form, it would still remain 
imperfect, and the better species be defiled by the vile 
admixture ; that the result would not in fact be gold 
at all, but a middle nature, according to the propor- 
tionate virtue of the metals conjoining, golden or 
leaden, or as the case might be. Since species are in- 

Theory of Transmutation. 69 

destructible, therefore, the transmutation of metals 
has been regarded as a sophistical proposition and not 
a true art. 

And this argument the alchemists also admitting, 
have sometimes seemed to contradict themselves and 
their science ; but such is not really the case, and only 
from want of understanding them has it been supposed 
so. It is not species that they profess to transmute ; 
nor do they ever teach in theory that lead as lead, or 
mercury as mercury specificate, can be changed into 
gold, any more than a dog into a horse, a tulip into a 
daisy, or vice versa, in this way, anything of unlike 
kind ; but it is the subject-matter of these metals, the 
radical moisture of which they are uniformly com- 
posed, that they say may be withdrawn by art and 
transported from inferior Forms, being set free by the 
force of a superior ferment or attraction. 

Species, says Friar Bacon, are not transmuted, 
but their subject-matter rather, — Species non trans- 
muta|;ur, sed subjecta specierum optime et propriis- 
sime : — therefore the first work is to reduce the body 
into water, that is, into mercury, and this is called So- 
lution, which is the foundation of the whole art.^ 
And the first preparation and foundation of the Her- 
metic art, says the author of the Rosarium, is Solu- 
tion and a reduction of the body into water, which is 
argent vive : for it is well known to artists that 
species cannot, as themselves, be transmuted, since 
they are not liable to sensible action and corruption ; 
but the Subjects of species rather, since they are cor- 
ruptible and may be changed : yet neither can the 
Subjects of species be transmuted, unless they are 
reduced first into their original matter, and made free 
to pass from one into another form. But this is not 
contrary to reason, because one form being expelled, 
another may be introduced, as is evident in rustic 
operations — as in the making of glass from flints, 
stones, and ashes : much more then should the ex- 

1 See llogeri Bachonis Eadix Muudi et Speculum Alchemiiip. 

70 Exoteric View. 

perienced philosopher be able to corrupt the Subject- 
matter of natures and to introduce a new Form.' 
Arnold, also admitting that species are indestructible, 
advises therefore that the Subject be freed by an arti- 
ficial reduction.^ Sj)ecies non transmutari sed indi- 
vidua specierum.^ And Avicenna,* and Aristotle,^ 
who is also quoted from by Ripley. 

As the Pliilosoplier wlio iu the Book of INIeteors did wryte, 

That the lykeness of bodyes inetallyue be uot trausniutable, 
But aftorvvai'db he added theis words of more delyte, 

IJ'ithout they he reduced to their beyinnyng muteriahle ; 
Wlierefore such bodies as iu uature be liquable 

IMiueral aud metalliue may be mercurizate, 
Couceive ye may theis scieuce is not opiuable, 

But very true by liaymoud and others determinate.*^ 

When therefore Lully, speaking of the Art, declares 
/ that species are absolute and cannot be changed one 

f-C^ ^ Adverte carissimj^ quod qua) sequuutur verissima sunt intelli- 

gentibus. Prima prepanitio et fundameutum artis est solutio, id 

est corporis in aquam, reductio hoc est in ai-gentum vivum. . . . 

Sciant artifices alchemia? species metallorum vere pennutari non 

posse, quod quidem verum est, quia species per se non sunt sub- 

jecta actiouibus seusibilibus, cum omnino incorruptibiles ; sed 

subjecta specierum optim^ pennutari possunt quoniam corrup- 

/ tabiiia sunt : attamen subjecta specierum permutari non possunt 

/7W nisi ipsa prius ad primam reduca^ur materiam et sic in aliam 

formam quam prius eraut permutantur. Contra hoc autem ratio 

non stat, quia destructa una forma immediate introducitur alia, ut 

patet iu operibus rusticorum, qui de kipidibus faciunt calcem et de 

cineribus \dtrum. Sic multo fortius potest sapiens studiosus in- 

r dividua speciei corrumpere et novam formam eis introdueere. 

— Eosar. Abbrev. Tract, ii. Do Lapide in Theat. Cliem. vol. iii. 

2 Species metallorum transmutari non possunt : et hoc verum 
est ut ipsi asseruut, nisi ad primam materiam redigantur. Ee- 
ductio aufem illorum ad primam materiam est facilis, &c. — Liber 
Perfect. Magist., sub initio. 

^ Speculum Alchymia; Aruoldi, Octava Dispositio. See also, in 

Eosario, lib. i. cap. ix Quid sit opus physicum ; also Clangor Bue- 

cinse, Tractatus uiirabilis, de Luiia Philoso})hicaEnigmata Diversa. 

^6j2.C c^S ■* Sciaut Artifices zVlchimis^sive formas luetallorum vere trans- 

/ mutari non posse nisi in primam materiam et sic in aliud quam 

prius pcrmutentur. — Lib.ii. Tractat.i.cap.iv. DeOperat.lNled.Sing. 

^ Metalla autem omnia, ut ad rem redeaui, hunt ex una 

eademque materiam, A;c., before quoted, page 14. — Meteor, lib. iii. 

cap. XV. 

^ Epistle to Kiug Edwai-d, stanza 10. 

Theory of Transmutation. 71 

into another, — Elementiva habent vera conditiones et 
una species se non transmutet in alivlm/ — we shall t Ct 
not understand him as denying the art by any means, / 

but a false position of it only ; the fundamental possi- 
bility and principle of transmutation being not of spe- 
cies, but of their Universal Subject or first matter. 

And this Universal Subject is the alleged foundation 
of the whole Hermetic experiment ; not only the thing 
transmutable in natures, as is above shown, but the 
thing transmuting also, when set free and segregated 
in its proper essentiality, the fermented Spirit assimi- 
lates the Light throughout. — Trust not, says the 
adept, those impostors who tell you of a sulvhur 
thigcus, and I know not what fables ; who pin also 
the narrow name of Cliemia on a science ancient and 
infinite. It is the Light only that can be truly multi- 
plied, for this ascends and descends from the first 
fountain of multiplication and generation. This Light 
(discovered and perfected by art) applied to any body, 
exalts and perfects it in its own kind: if to animals, 
it exalts animals ; if to vegetables, vegetables ; if to 
minerals, it refines minerals, and translates them from 
the worst to the best condition ; where, note by the 
way, that every body hath passive principles in itself 
for this Light to work upon, and therefore needs not 
to borrow any from gold or silver.^ 

This last advice is given to correct a common 
error, that the alchemists extracted the Form out 
of these metals to transmute and increase with. 
Gross misconception of their initial principle has 
indeed caused their positions frequently to appear 
ridiculous ; as of the common talk, for instance, of 
weighing and proportioning the elements so exactly 
as to constitute them into lasting accord ; of con- 
solidating the metalline vapour by heat artificially 
introduced, or by the rays of the sun and moon 
drawn to simultaneous co-operation, and several 

1 De Arte jNIagua, part ix. 

- oee Vaughan'vS Anima Magia Abscondita, page 30. 

72 Exoteric View. 

such-like literally imputed follies, far from their 
uiiiids, who protested against such misunderstanding, 
having assumed to themselves another principle and 
another method of generating metals, by which they 
were enabled to follow nature independently, and help 
her to exceed the ordinary limits of her law : not by 
the condensation of imaginary vapours in the mines, 
or by the assistance of the great luminary or lunar 
light, but by working, as it is said, the only universal 
living and occult nature by and through itself, 
scientifically, w hich contains within itself the true ori- 
ginal of all these, even of the whole manifested exist- 
ence. ^J'hus, w^e read, in the Lucenia Sails, 

A certain tiling is found in tlic world 
Which is also in every thing and in every place. 
It is not earth, nor fire, nor air, nor water, 
Albeit it wants neither of these things, 
Nay it can become to be fire, air, water, and earth ; 
For it contains all nature in itself purely and sincerely ; 
It becomes white and red, is hot and cold, 
It is moist and dry and is diversifiable every way. 
The band of Sages only have known it, 
And they call it tlieir salt. 
It is extracted from their earth ; 
And has been the ruin of many a fool ; 
Eor tlie common earth is worth nothing here, 
Nor the vulgar salt in any manner, 
But rather the salt of the woi'ld, 
"Which contains in itself all Lif(> : 

Of it is made that medicine which will preserve you from 
all maladies.' 

The Stone is one, says the monk in his Rosary ; the 
medicine is one, in which the whole mystery consists, 
to which we add nothing nor take away anything, 
only in the preparation, removing superfluities.^— All 
is made of Mercury, says Geber ; for when Sol is re- 
duced to his first original, i.e., the mercury, then 
nature embraceth nature, and by open and manifest 
[)roof we have concluded that our Stone is no other 

' Lucerna Salis, from tlie Latin verse, p. loO. 
^ Kosar, Abbrcv. Tract, iii. and v. 

Theory of Transmutation. 73 

than a foetent spirit and living water, which we have 
named dry water, by natural proportion cleansed and 
united with such union, that they can never more be 
absent each fi'om other.' And Aquinas says, — It is 
Mercury alone which perfects in our work, and we find 
in it all we have need of; nothing different must be 
added. Some, mistaking, believe that the work can- 
not be perfected with mercury alone without his sister 
or companion ; but I do assure thee that working with 
mercury and his sister (/. e., as agent and patient) that 
thou addest nothing different from mercury ; and 
know also that gold and silver arc not unlike in kind 
to this our Mercury ; for it is their root : if thou work- 
est therefore with Mercury alone, without foreign in- 
tervention, thou obtainest thy desire.^ The White 
and the Red proceed from one root, for it dissolves and 
coagulates itself — whitens, rubifies, and makes itself to 
be both yellow and black ; it unites with itself, con- 
ceives itself, and brings itself forth, to the full per- 
fecting of its intention.^ 

It is only in her manifold changes that nature is 
known and made apparent in ordinary life ; but, since 
these alchemists profess to have enjoyed another expe- 
rience, and through their Art to have discovered her 
in her simple essentiality, to be that total which works 
all conditionedly throughout existence, it will there- 
fore be requisite to consider their w^iole doctrine with 
reference to this presumed unity, and by no means be 
led aside by their metaphoric language into a common 
misconstruction of its meaning ; but since, according 
to the old maxim, AU is in Altrcury which the ivise men 
seek, let us seek therefore if we may be able at all to 
identify this mercury, and whether the same ancient 
material be yet on earth. 

It is well known, that the Greeks and eastern sages 
derived all things in common from a certain pure and , / 
hidden fire ; Stoics, Pythagoreans, Platonie*, and Pe- />?^ 
ripatetics vie with each other in celebrating the occult 

' Invest, of Perl. cap. xi. 

2 Eosar. Abbrev. Tract, iii. and v. 


74 Exoteric View. 

virtues of the Ether ; its all-pervading essence and 
perfective power : in it they place the providential re- 
gulation of nature ; it was the very life and substance 
of their theosophy, in which from the highest to the 
lowest confines of existence, from Jove to the last 
link in the infernal monarchy, all were inhabiting the 
etherial world ; for, as Virgil says, it lights and nou- 
rishes the innermost earth as well as the air and starry 

Priucipio coelum, ac terras, composque liquentcs, 
Lucentemque globum Luna?, Titauiaque astra, 
^y^ Spiritus inter alit ; totanique infusa per ai'tus 

Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.^ 

And the assertions of the Ethnics, about the Anima 
Mundi, vary little or nothing in substance from the 
Hebrew doctrine, but in words only ; neither are their 
opinions so heinous or ridiculous as the zealous policy 
of ignorance, under a Christian guise, has too often 
caused them to appear. That there is a fluid or vi- 
talizing principle invisibly permeating all things, and 
resident in the air we breathe, common experience in- 
dicates, for life cannot subsist without air, nor in all 
kinds of air ; but there is some one quality or ingre- 
dient in the atmosphere which is a secret food of life, 
and on which it immediately depends ; what this ali- 
ment is, though many names have been invented, the 
moderns in default of knowledge are not agreed ; and 
seeing it escapes the test of their closest vessels and 
analyses, and that it can be neither seen, heard, felt, 
nor naturally understood, the ancient theory of the One 
Element has been very much derided. The chemist, 
Homberg, indeed, with Boerhaave, Boyle, and others 
eminent of that period, hold with the alchemists, that 
there is a distinct substance universally diflused, though 
sensible only in its mixed forms and })Owerful efl'ects ; 
that it is the alone pure and active source of all things, 
and most firm bond of the natural elements, giving life 
to all bodies, penetrating and sustaining all things, and 

1 .l^uL'id, lib. vi. 7'2L 

Theory of Transmutation. 75 

enlivening all ; that this mighty Ether moreover is 
always at hand, ready to break forth into action on 
predisposed subjects ; fermenting, producing, destroy- 
ing, and governing the total course of nature. Bishop 
Berkeley, too, in his Sir is, contends learnedly in favour 
of the same universal material, which he likewise calls 
ether, ajid a pure invisible fire — the most subtle and 
elastic of all bodies pervading all, and considers that 
it is from thence, and not from any mingled pro- 
perty, that the air has its power of sustenance and 

These then, with a few others, in recent times, have 
so far concurred with the ancients in distinguishing the 
fontal Spirit of nature, apart from its manifestation, 
and as distinct from that elementary ignition with 
which we are sensibly familiar ; for they do not allow 
that to be fire indeed, but an excitation only or effect 
of the antecedent j)otency which they describe. But 
then they could adduce no tangible proof of their doc- 
trine. The world could not see their invisible fire. It 
has therefore been regarded as a mere speculative chi- 
mera (which in part it was perhaps, in their minds, 
without experience), and, accordingly, disbelieved. 
For philosophy, at length, laudibly anxious to prove 
all things, yet too idle to theorise, will suppose no- 
thing that is not openly shown ; how then should she 
recognise that recondite fire ? 

Neither are we desirous absolutely to assume it 
here ; for though experiments of recent date seem to 
supply concurrent evidence, and the phenomena of 
Mesmerism have helped to force again on the minds 
of the more observing portion of mankind the suppo- 
sition of a " New Imponderable," or " 0^-ic Force," 
yet, few believe ; and we pass it now to continue our 
research concerning that elder Quintessence of the magi 
which they introduce, not as a being of speculation 
merely, but of experimental science ; not perceptible 
only in mingled forms, in the common air or elementary 
water, but as an essence compact and tangible without ^ 
heterogeneity ; in which pure estate, the Gabalists, ^^y 

76 Exoteric View. 

also describing, call it, Lumeii Vestimenti, the Vehi- 
cle of Light; and the Greeks, eXevdepo^, the Free 
Ether, that is to say, freed from the prison of gross 
matter, and able to work of itself intimately by the 
virtue of its own included light. Thus Zeno defines 
it, — Ignem esse artificiosum, ad gignendum progre- 
dientem via; — as a plastic fire, ever generating by 
/ rule. And Cicero, as that coelestis altissima ivthe- 

Ou! reaque natura, id est igne^aquae per se omnia gignat, 
/ ' — that most heavenly high etherial igneous nature, 
which spontaneously begets all things.^ 

The light of life ; the \4tal draught 

That forms the food of every living thing, 

And e'en the high, enthroned, all-sparkling eye 

Of ever-mounting fire ; th' immense expanse, 

The viewless Ether in his genial arms 

Clasping the earth ; Him call thou Lord and Jove.^ 

It is requisite, however, to distinguish a'lrs here, 
lest we speak profanely, calling that Jove which is 
not Jove ; and, mistaking Olympus, embrace some 
cloud whilst the life-giving Juno is far away above all 
our idea and sight. For the goddess is subtilely min- 
gled in nature commonly observable in her action only, 
as adepts say, and to the world unknown, as we may 
observe Lully, amongst others telling us, she is of 
another birth, and cannot be brought to knowledge 
without sagacious handling and human help. — Imo 
argentum vivum nostrum est aqua alterius naturcC, 
qute reperiri non potest supra terram, cum in actio- 
nem venire non possit per naturam, absque adjutorio 
/ ingenii ct humanarum manuum operationibus.^ 

I Ql H#c vere uullibi est quod qugerimus. 

Nowhere ; for the etherial spirit does not subsist of 
itself, separate or tangibly on earth ; but, giving sub- 
sistence to other things, is occultated even in their 
life, and defiled. It is, moreover, an especial doctrine 

r* - / • / ^ De Nat. Deor. lib. ii. 

.co'\^UO<a(!S 2 iccEtOtSHS. See Blackwell's Letters on Mythology, 12. 
' •■' Luliii Theorica et Practiea in Theat. Chem. vol. iv. 

Theory of Transmutation. 11 

of adepts, that nature operates her ordinary manifes- 
tation in direct contrariety to her perfect law ; that, as 
darkness and imperfection are now apparent, the true 
Light is made occult ; and that neither sanity nor beauty 
can permanently supervene in bodies, unless the con- 
trary be operated in them ; so that that which is fixed 
becoming volatile and the volatile nature fixed, the ad- 
ventitious or externally generated image may be con- 
stricted utterly, and the central form contrariwise de- 
veloped into life and act. 

Si fixum solvas faciasque volare solutum 
Et volucrem figas, facicnt te vivere tutum : 
Solve, CoagLila, Tige. 

Thus, it is said that by a real experimental inver- 
sion, the Hermetic Art has proved imperfections to be 
accidental to nature, and introduced to her from with- 
out ; that as water, spread abroad upon a many-co- 
loured surface of earth, salts, or spices, takes the hue 
and flavour of the spot on which it rests, so it is with 
the prolific source of things ; species subsist in it ad- 
ventitiously, as it were, by sufferance, and may be ex- 
pelled, and ought to be for the attainment of perfec- 
tion. — Whoever desires to attain his end, says Arnold, 
let him understand the conversion of the elements, 
to make light things heavy, and to make spirits no 
spirits, then he shall not work in a strange thing. 
Converte elementa et quod quseris invenies.^ 

And if any skilful minister of nature shall apply 
force to matter ; and, by design, torture and vex it in 
order to its annihilation, says the philosopher ; it, on 
the contrary, being brought to this necessity, changes 
and transforms itself into a strange variety of shapes 
and appearances ; for nothing but the power of the 
Creator can annihilate it or truly destroy ; so that, 
at length, running through the whole circle of trans- 
formations, and completing its period, it in some 
degree restores itself, if the force be continued. And 
that method of torturing or detaining will prove 

* Arnold! Specuhiin, Octava Dispositio, &c. 

7S Exoteric View. 

the most effectual and expeditious which makes use 
of manacles and fetters ; /. e., lays hold and works upon 
matter in the extremest degree.^ 

So much does Lord Bacon assume upon the declara- 
tion of Democritus ; our philosopher had in him the 
bright light of genius, which enabled him indepen- 
dently of experience to conceive well and grapple 
with the possibility of nature. His mind glanced 
intuitively through and beyond the darkness which 
time had cast before the Wisdom of antiquity, and 
he discerned her yet beaming afar off with vener- 
able splendor in her old domain. Though chained 
to the superficies, observing and collecting facts, he 
honoured those sages who long before him had ex- 
perimented into the centre, and proved there a firm 
and immutable foundation of truth ; but thither he 
was not able himself to pass, for he knew nothing of 
their Great Art, or of its subject even, and naturally 
mistook their hidden ground. Had the smallest 
glimpse only of this been revealed to him, he would 
have imagined all differently, nor ever proposed that 
the dissolution of nature should be attempted me- 
chanically, or by help of such " particular digesters 
applied to the fire," as in the Sylva Si/lvarum he 
seriously designs for this end.- 

Such instruments do, in fact, expel the very nature 
which the ancients prized ; leaving us without all re- 
compense in the dead ashes of her consuming vesture; 
whereas, the proposal of Democritus is not only to 
reduce the matter, with her false forms, to the verge 
of annihilation, but to entrap the bare spirit and help 
her on from thence to operate her own intrinsical fi'eed 
will, which according to this testimony she possesses, 
and is able to make manifest, wrapping herself spon- 
taneously about it, even to a recreation. But if she 
is suffered to depart invisibly without pursuit or 
amendment, which is the common catastrophe, then 

1 See Bacon, De Sapientia Vetoruni, Fable of Proteus. 
'^ See the Sylva Sylvarmn, iu two places ; and the History of 
Rarity and Density. 

Theory of Transmutation. 79 

she is caught up again by other external compellents, 
and, becoming defiled, is imprisoned by them and no 
better than she was before. The contrariation pro- 
posed by the Alchemists, indeed, is not in the power 
of ordinary art, any more than of nature herself; but 
she passes through death from one form into another, 
as in the chemic vessels, without self-discovery, being- 
instigated by a most forcible excentric will, which she 
has no power but to obey : yet, as the passage runs, 
— If any skilful minister shall apply another force, and 
by design torture and vex the spirit in order to its 
annihilation, it, being brought under this necessity, 
transforms and presently restores itself, the force being 

And that magic, says Paracelsus, is the most sin- 
gular secret that directed such an entrance into na- 
ture ; which, if it were divinely done by God alone, it 
would be to no purpose to study for it. But the 
Deity doth not make himself especially operative 
herein : if that magic then were natural, certainly it 
was most wonderful, very excellent for quickness of 
penetration and swiftness of separation, the like 
whereof nature can neither give nor express. For 
whilst that is at work, behold all things fall apart 
into their elements, breaking forth into their act and 
simple essence. The greatest miracle of all in phi- 
losophy is stparalioii : separation was the principle and 
beginning of all generation. And as it was in the 
great mystery, so it is in the lesser. The truphat, or 
matter of the metals, brings everything into its pro- 
per kind, distinguishing and separating with wonderful 
diligence every thing into its due form.^ — Convert the 
elements, says Arnold, and you will find what you 
seek ; for our operation is nothing else than a mutation 
of natures, and the method of conversion in our Argent 
vive is the reduction of natures to their first root.^ — 
The elements of Mercury being separated, says Ripley 

* To the Athenians, book i. text 9. 

2 Speculum Alchimijc, Octava Dispositio. 

80 Exoteric View. 

and again commixed by equal weight or proportion, 
make the chxir complete.' 

Now as we are taught from the beginning, that the 
whole of the Hermetic theory and practice proceeds 
upon the assumption of a certain Universal Being in 
nature, which is occult, and since the whole Art there- 
fore has respect to this, we may be careful to observe 
that in speaking of elements, our authors do not al- 
lude to the common elements — as of fire, air, and 
water — with wliich we are familiarly conversant, or to 
those subtler gases, so called simples of modern Che- 
mistrv, all of which are impure and equally irrelevant 
to this philosophy ; but the elements they speak of, 
as being introverted and transformed are the ele- 
ments of the Mercury, properties of the universal 
spirit ; in which, and by which alone, they profess to 
have operated the perfective miracle of their Stone. 
We must not limit, says Paracelsus, an element to 
a bodily substance or quality. That which we see 
is only the receptacle ; the true element is a spirit of 
life, and grows in all things, as the soul in the body of 
man. This is the First Matter of tlie elements, which 
can neither be seen nor felt, and yet is in all things ; 
and the tirst matter of the elements is nothing else 
but that life which the creatures have ; and it is these 
magical elements which are of such an excellent and 
quick activity that nothing besides can be found or 
imagined like them.^ 

Concerning the same, Hermes also advises men to 
understand that the knowledge of the four elements of 
the ancient philosophers was not corporally or with- 
out wisdom sought after, but they are through patience 
onlv to be obtained, according to their kind, which 
through their owm operation are everywhere in nature 
hidden and obscured.^ 

We do not know whether we have set the position 

1 Medulla Alchimiae, cap. i. 

2 To the Athenians, book ii. text 2 and 5. 

^ Tractatus Aureus, cap. i. prop. 4. See also LuUii Tlieoria et 
Practica, c. iii. 

Theory of Transmutation. 81 

clearly, that the order of natural procedure ought to 
be introverted for a true and perfect manifestation ; 
the point is subtle, and as it may be more easily ap- 
prehended hereafter on more intimate ground, we 
leave it for the present to consider especially what that 
nature w^as, which the Alchemists profess so to have 
revolutionized, in order that gathering their definitions 
of the whole, we may be better able afterwards to 
conceive the particulars, — Qui| Proteum non novit, ^ 
adeat Pana. 

Fortis subtilis Pan, integer et generalis ; 

Et totus ignis, aura, terra, sive aqua, 
Qui resides solio cum tempore semper eodem 

Medio, supremo et infimo regno tuo. 
Concipiens, generaus, produeens, omnia servans, 

Exordium rerumque finis omnium.^ 

Yet not in his elementary immanifest diffusion let 
us invoke the most Ancient Nature, but as he was 
discovered by the Hermetic masters ; whole, and sin- 
gularly, and before any alteration had been induced in 
his uniform substance by their art. Thus Albertus 
Magnus defines the Mercury of the wise to be a watery 
element, cold and moist, a permanent water, an unc- 
tuous vapour, and the spirit of body ; and again, — the 
first material of the metals is an unctuous subtle hu- 
midity, forcibly incorporated with a subtle terres- _/^P. 
treity.^ ^rtp.fiii s describes it as a white fume, in sub- (Mite/^/u^u.S 
stance like to pure silver, resolving bodies into their 
original whiteness ; and as a vegetable life making all 
things to grow, multiply, and resuscitate.^ Which 
Lully, not dissimilarly viewing, calls Hyle, saying, 

I Orpheus llymni — 1. 

^ Mercurixis SapientAm est elementum aqueum, frigidum ethu- 
midum, aqua permanens, vapor unctuosus et spiritus corporis, &c. 
Prima materia metallorum est humidum unctuosum 
subtile, quod est incorporatum terrestri subtili fortiter commixto. 
— De Mineralibus, cap. ii. et Breve Compendium in Theat. Chem. 
vol. ii. 

^ See Liber Secretissimus Artefii. Ilia namque aqua fumua 
albus est, &c. Est autem aqua ilia media qusedam siibstantise clara ut 
argentum purum, qufe debet recipere tincturas solis et lunsB ut 


82 Exoteric View. 

that it is a clear compounded water, most like in 
substance to argent vive, that it is found flowing upon 
earth, and is generated in every compound out of the 
substance of the air, therefore the moisture is ex- 
tremely heavy. ^ Seek our Argent Vive, says Ar- 
nold, and you will have all you desire from it ; it is 
a stone and no stone, in which the whole Art consists, 
spirit, soul, and body ; which if thou dissolvest, it will 
be dissolved ; and if thou coagulatest, it will be co- 
agulated ; and if thou makest it fly, it will fly ; for it 
is volatile, and clear as a tear. And afterwards, it is 
made citrine, then saltish, but without crystals ; and 
no man may touch it with his tongue, for it is a 
deadly poison. Behold, I have described it to thee; 
but I have not named it, lest it should become com- 
mon in the hands of all ; nevertheless, I will in a 
manner name it, and tell thee that if thou sayest it is 
water, thou dost say truth ; and if thou sayest it is 
not water, thou dost lie. Be not therefore deceived 
with manifold descriptions and operations, for it is One 
Thing to which nothing extraneous may be added. ^ 
There is another found speaking after the same sense 

congeletur ct couvertatur in terrain albam vivarn. . . . Est 
quoiiiam aqua ista est aqua vita; vegetabilis, ideo ipsa dat vitain et 
facit vegctare crescere et pullulare ipsuni corpus luortuuui et 
ipsuni resuscitare de morte ad vitam solutione et sublimatioue et 
in tali operatione vei'titur corpus in spirituin, spii'itus in corpus et 
tunc factn est amicitia, &c. 

^ Ji. Lullii Tlieorica et Practica, cap iii. De Pornia M inori. Est 
aqua clara composita ex dictis vaporibus per cond(Misationem suae 
naturae, qufe venit iu dictos vapores quatuor eleiuentorum, et ilia 
est res ai'gento vivo magis propinqua, quod quidein reperitur supra 
terrani currens et fluens, &c. 

^ Lapis est et non lapis, spiritus anima et corpus : quern si dis- 
solvis, dissolvitur ; et si coagules, coagulatur, et si volare facis, 
volat. Est autem volatilis albus ut lacliryina ocidi ; postea efHci- 
tur citrinus, salsus, pilis carens, quern nemo lingua sua tangere 
potest. Ecee ipsuni jam sua demonstravi descriptione. Non tameii 
nominavi, quo omiiis eget locuples et pauper et omiies habere pos- 
sunt ; et in uianibus suis est ac pro eo causaiitur. JNIodo volo 
ipsuin nomiuare ; et dico quod si dixeris cum aquam esse, veruiii 
dicis ; et si dicis cum ai[uam non esse nientiris. Ne igitur deci- 
piaris pluribus descriptionibus et operantibus. Unum enim quid 
est. oui nihil alieni inlertur. — Speculum Alchimia^, Octava Disp. 

Theory of Transmutation. 83 

— Belus, in the classic synod of Aristceus ; and this, he 
says, among'st all great philosophers is magisterial, 
that our stone is no stone ; though with the ignorant 
this is ridiculous ; for who will believe that water can 
be made a stone, or a stone Wtiter ; nothing being 
more different than these two ? Yet, in very truth, it 
is so : for this very permanent water is the stone, but 
whilst it is water it is no stone. ^ Again ; — 

It is a stone and no stone, 

In which tlie whole art consists ; 

Nature has made it such, 

But has not yet brought it to perfection. 

Tou will not find it on earth, since there it has no growth ; 

It grows only in the caverns of the mountains. 

The whole art depends on it ; 

For he who has the vapour of this thing. 

Has the gilded splendour of the Eed Lyon, 

The pure and clear Mercury. 

And he who knows the red Sulphur which it contains, 

Has within his power the M'hole foundation." 

Basil Valentine, more intimately defining the nature 
of the First Matter, declares it to be comparable to no 
manifested particular wdiatever, and that all descrip- 
tion fails in respect of it, without the light of true 
experience. And Rupecissa says the same ; and Rip- 
ley, that it is not like any common water or earthy 
material, but a middle substance, — Aquosa substantia 
sicca reperta, — partaking of extremes celestial and ter- 

^ Ecce dicta in hoc despecto, fama divulgata quod apud philoso- 
phos excelsum est, quod est lapis et non lapis, quod multis non^ 
cupantur nominibus, ne quis ipsum agnoscat insipiens, &c. — 
Turba Philosophorum Sermo Vigesima. 

Est lapis attamen non lapis, 
In ipso solum natura operatur, 
Qui tons ex eo profluit, . 
Fixum patrem suum submergit, 
Absorbens illiiui cum corpore vitaque, 
Donee reddatur illi anima 
Et mater volatilis ipsi similis 
Fiat in suo regno, &c. 

B. Vahntinii De Prima Materid. 
2 Lucerna Salis Phil. p. 33. From the Latin verse. Est qui- 
dem lapis et non lapis, &<•. — See Digbv's Trans, p. 277. 

G 2 ■ 

84 Exoteric View. 

resti'ial ; and though it may seem contradictory so to 
speak of a first matter, as of a middle, or third ; yet 
this is done in respect of its generation by active and 
passive relations of the Universal Spirit, whence it pro- 
ceeds as a third, yet homogeneal from its radix ; Lully 
also calls it tertium, and compounded in this sense ; 
and Basil Valentine, — 

Corpua anima spiritus in duobus existit, 
Ex quibus tota res procedit : 
Pi'ocedit ex uno et est res una, 
Volatile et fixum simul coUi^a, 
Sunt duo et tria et saltom unum 
Si non intelliges, nibil obtines.' 

And Vaughan, for example of a modern authority, 
says, that the First Matter is indeed the union of 
masculine and feminine spirits ; the quintessence of 
four, the ternary of three, and the tetract of one ; and 
that these are his generations, physical and metaphy- 
sical. The thing itself, continues he, is a world 
without fortu, a divine animated mass of complexion 
like silver, neither mere power nor perfect action, but 
a weak virgin substance, a certain soft prolific Venus, 
the very love and seed of nature, the mixture and 
moisture of heaven and earth. ^ As Sendivogius like- 
wise declares, — Our water is heavenly, not wetting the 
hands, not of the vulgar, but almost rain water ;^ 
and by such familiar analogies as tears, rain, dew, 
milk, wine, and oil, the fermentative principle of the 
spirit and her distilled quintessence are very ordinarily 
denoted. We conclude these verbal instructions with 
the following sununary passage from the ancient book 
of Synesius, and the New Light. — It is, says this 
esteemed author, speaking of the same Matter, a 
clear Light, which fills with true virtue every mind 
that has once perceived it ; it is the nucleus and bond 

^ B. A'alentinii De Prima Materia, in Museo Hermotico. Lullii 
Theor. ot Pract. cap. iii. 

2 Lumeu de Luinine, p. 46, &c. 

■^ Now T;igbt of Alchemy, Ti'act. 10. Of the Supprnatur:il (J one- 

Theory of Transmutation. 85 

of all the elements which are contained in it, and the 
spirit which nourishes all things, and by means of 
which nature operates universally ; it is the virtue, 
true beginning, and end of the whole world ; in plain 
terms, the quintessence is no other than our viscous 
celestial and glorious soul drawn from its mincra by 
our magistery. But nature alone engenders it ; it is not 
possible to make it by art ; for to create is proper to 
God alone ; but to make things that are not perceived, 
but which lie in the shadow, to appear, and to take from 
them their veil, is granted to an intelligent philoso- 
pher by God, through nature. And this Latex is the 
sharp vinegar which makes gold a pure spirit, seeing 
she is even that blessed w^ater which engenders all 
things. Our subject is presented to the eyes of the 
whole world, and it is not known ! O our heaven, O 
our water, O our mercury, O our salt nitre, abiding 
in the sea of the world ! O our vegetable ; O our sul- 
phur, fixed and volatile ; O our caput mortuum, or 
dead head, or fceces of our sea ! Our water, that wets 
not the hands ; w^ithout which nothing can live, and 
without which nothing growls or is generated in the 
whole world ! And these are the Epithetes of Hermes, 
his Bird, which is never at rest. It is of small account, 
yet no body can be without it, and so thou hast dis- 
covered to thee a thing more precious than the whole 
world ; which I plainly tell thee is nothing else than 
our sea water, which is congealed in gold and silver, 
and extracted by the help of our chalybs, or steel, by 
the art of philosophers, in a wonderful manner by a 
prudent son of science.^ 

Thus obscure, after all, is the true Matter of the 
Alchemists ; and if w^e presume to add here, that it 
is the simple generated substance of life and light, im- 
manifestly flowing throughout nature, and define it as 
that without which nothing that exists is able to be, 
we are not for this yet wiser how to obtain or work it 

• See at the end of Kirchringius Valentine, in English, the Trea- 
tise of Synesius, p. 166, and Sendivogius, New Light of Alchemy, 
page 44. 

Si) Exoteric View. 

apart ; nor are words sufficient to convey a just notion 
where there is no ground of apprehension ; and whether 
a thing be most hke water, earth, fire, quicksilver, 
azote, or ether, is indift'erent to the mind, needing ac- 
tual experience to fix its idea. This the art promises 
to a patient and true philosopher, but as a reward of 
individual labour and perseverance only. We may con- 
tent ourselves thus early, therefore, with the exclusive 
assurance that it is no one of the many things with 
w^hich sense brings us acquainted ; that it is neither 
water, nor earth, nor air, nor fire, though it contains 
in principle the nature of all these ; neither gold, nor 
silver, nor mercury, nor antimony, nor any alkali, or 
gas, or vitriol of the vulgar ; though these titles are 
found interspersed abundantly with others, equally 
deceptive, in the pages of the adepts. Neither is it 
animal absolutely, or vegetable, or mineral, or any 
natural particular whatever : but the alone Lcelia 
^lia latent in and about all, which the Enigma cele- 
brates as comprehending all ; but which the Alchemists 
alone teach experimentally to expound. 

The ordinary phenomena of light, however, may 
occur, as not dissimilar from those which they de- 
scribe ; only that they are shadowy and mingled, com- 
pared with the alleged virtue and perfective properties 
of the Philosophic Subject. Yet as colours — blue, red, 
yellow, and purple — are blended in the one uniform 
solar light, and are shown apart simply by a prismatic 
parting of the rays, or particles of their essence ; and 
again, when the disposition is exchanged, relapsing, 
they exhibit the uniform whiteness whence they came ; 
so is it said to be with the Alchemical Pan, who, 
being but one himself, is in his offspring multitudi- 
nous, and manifold in every diversity of form, hue, 
and complexion. 

The ever varying substance of the wliole 
Etherial, watci-y, earthly geiiei'al soul, 
Immortal Fire ! Even all the Morld is tliine 
Aud parts ot'tliec, O Proteus, power divine; 
Since all things nature first to thee consigned, 
Aud in thv essence omuiform combined. 

Theory of Transmutation. 87 

Then, again, as light and heat mingle with bodies 
entering their composition, hardening some, softening 
others, destroying or cherishing, changing their aspect 
continually, and modifying their qualities ; so is the 
Mercurial quintessence said to produce all various 
effects, but within itself consummately without exter- 
nal reference, or elementary confusion. Hitherto w^e 
have had account of the Matter only as it first appears, 
pure, as they say, and white, out of the philosophical 
contrition ; and, so far, we find the testimony suffi- 
ciently congruous : — but wdien the wise artist has 
brought all into this annihilate condition, and pressed 
out the waters of her extreme life ; nature re-acting, 
as it is said, exhibits from out her unity three great 
magnetic principles of being — the Salt, Sulphur, 
and Mercury of adepts, in relation to each other 
of agent, patient, m\d offspring universal, — perpe- 
tually flowing forth to multitudinous manifestation. 
For Pan contains Proteus, as we have before seen 
from Democritus, and exhibits himself through this 
god ; evolving every particular property and form of 
beings, out of his central will, of necessity, as the Or- 
phic oracle declares ; also of Mercury, with like allusion. 

Hear me, Mercury, and Son of Maia ; the bright expositor of 
things ! 

This Proteus then, or Mercury, or quintessence of 
philosophers, is warily concealed by them under an 
infinity of names, all more or less applicable, yet de- 
lusive ; for though every epithet is admissible, inas- 
much as nothing can be said amiss of a Universal Sub- 
ject, yet the right conception is hard to gather from 
their books. In its artificial fermentation and pro- 
gress towards perfection, the changes it undergoes are 
manifold ; and as the common life of nature, it be- 
comes any and every conceivable thing in turn that it 
wills to be ; now it is mineral, now vegetable, now 
animal ; by predominance of either principle, it is fire, 
spirit, body, air, earth, and water ; a stone, a vapour, 
or an aqua sicca ; an essential oil of hfe, and a most 

88 Exoteric View. 

sharp vinegar, a phoenix, a salamander, a poisonous 
devouring dragon, and a chameleon ; eveiy colour, 
every thought is included in its circulations ; nourish- 
ing, destroying, living, dying, corrupting, purifying, it 
is all things ; and, anon, it is nothing, — but a potential 
chaos and egg of philosophers ; a precedential, nameless 
principle, always in mutation, becoming to be, — first, 
last, greatest, least, the servant of art and queen of 
nature. Proceeding homogeneal through each omni- 
form variety, and returning into herself manifestly the 
life and all phenomena which she as constantly sup- 
plies, the great Identity is as herself unchanged ; 

.J - -^' 

Et, quaiito ilia magis tbriiias se vertet iu oinnis, /'^/ 
Tanto, iiate, magis tenacia vincla.^ ' / / 

Adepts have taken advantage of the mutable nature 
of their subject, to baffle the blind searcher, as w ell to 
confound false premises as to lead the intelligent to a 
discovery of the simple truth ; and where we find them 
speaking confusedly of elements, colours, and opera- 
tions, it is very requisite to bear in mind the idiosyn- 
cracy of their ground, and that it is to the qualities 
and changes which take place during the preparation, 
and multiplying the Mercury by its proper Light, they 
allude, and not to any superficial phenomena or those 
elements which the moderns have so triumphantly 
decomposed. The three principles, the Salt, Sulphur, 
and Mercury, are merely different as modes of being of 
the same thing, and the many names arising out of the 
action and passion of these, do but indicate the stages 
of progress and development, as of a tree, which with 
its leaves, trunk, flowers, buds, fruit and branches, all 
differing, is nevertheless one individual, of one original, 
and of one root. 

In the common estate, as the Spirit is in nature, said 
to be everywhere, it is called a thing vile and cheap ; 
in its perfectly prepared form, a medicine the most 
potent and precious in the whole world ; and the inter- 

' Georgics, lib. iv. 411. 

Theory of Transmutation. 89 

mediate stages partake of the predoniinarice of either 
extreme ; being subHmed at first, it is called a serpent, 
dragon, or green lion, on account of its strength and 
crude vitality, which putrefying, becomes a stronger 
poison, and their venomous toad ; which afterwards 
appearing calcined by its proper fire, is called magne- 
sia and lead of the wise ; which again dissolving, be- 
comes their vitriolic solvent and most sharp acetum ; 
and this afterwards is changed into an oil, which, 
whitening, is called milk, dew, quintessence, and by 
many other names ; until raised to the final perfec- 
tion, it is henceforth a phoenix, salamander, their 
royal essence and Red Stone. 

Our great Elixir most liigh of price. 

Our Azot, oiu' Basiliske, and our Adrop, our Cocatrice. 
Some call it also a substance exuberate. 
Some call it Mercury of metalline essence, 
Some limus deserti from his body evacuate, 
Some the Eagle flying fro' the north with violence, 
Some call it a Toade for his great vehemence. 

But few or none at all doe name it in its kinde, 

It is a privy quintessence ; keep it well in minde.^ 

Some speaking of it thus in metaphor, others in 
abstract terms, and all ambiguously; one regarding only 
certain properties, which another as entirely passes by, 
now describing in the natural state, then in its purified 
condition, or otherwise in any one of the intermediate 
stages through which it passes, without note of order 
in the art ; altogether it is by no means wonderful that 
so many erroneous conclusions have arisen respecting 
it, ingenuity having been rather directed to obscure 
than reveal the truth, which indeed can hardly be well 
conceived, without an insight into the experimental 
ground. And there are other difficulties which beset 
an exoteric theory of occult science, and inconsisten- 
cies will continually appear betwixt the sound of the 
alchemical writings and their true sense, until the 
initial ground is understood. Patience in the beginning 
is required, therefore, to interrogate and discern, from 

^ Bloonifield's Camp of Philosophy, book i. in Ashmole. 

90 Exoteric View. 

amongst so many shadowy representatives, the true 
light. Constantly holding in mind the simplicity of 
the Substance, whence these images are all derived, we 
may nevertheless be enabled to thread in comparative 
security this Hermetic labyrinth of birds and wild 
beasts : and wdien Geber says, that the thing which 
perfects in minerals, is the substance of argent vive 
and sulphur, proportionally commixt in the bowels of 
clean inspissate earth ;^ or Sendivogius, that the mat- 
ter of the metals is twofold ;"^ or Lully, or Ripley, or 
Basil, calls it a third thing ; we shall not understand 
them, or any others so speaking, as of a variety of 
things, of sulphur, mercury, or earth in a common- 
sense interpretation, but of the magnetic relation, 
action, and passion of the Ethereal being in itself. 

And fi'om the foregoing we may also judge that 
when Hermes says that the separation of the ancient 
philosophers is made upon Water, dividing it into four 
substances,-^ that it is not the common elementated 
water to wdiich he alludes ; any more than did Thales 
wdien he said that all things were generated from 
thence, or Moses when he taught that the Spirit of 
God moved creatively upon the face of the same. This 
water they speak of is not the fluid with which in this 
life we are conversant, either as dew, or of clouds, or air 
condensed in caverns of the earth, or artificially dis- 
tilled in a receiver out of sea fountains, either of pits, 
or rivers, as the empirical chemists formerly imagined ; 
but it is the ethereal body of life and light which 
they profess to have discovered, — a certain tortured 
water, having suffered alteration by art and become 
corporified. O how w^onderful, exclaims the Arabian, 
is that Thing which has in itself all things which we 
seek, to which we add nothing different or extract, 
only in the preparation removing superfluities!^ 

The sense of all these philosophers is the same and 
from their gathered evidence we may infer that their 

^ Invest, of Perf. cap. i. ^ ]>j^ew Light, Tract. 3. 

^ Tract. Aur. cap. i. prop. v. •• Eosarium, Aristotele Arabus. 

Theory of Transmutation. 91 

Stone is nothing more or less than the pure Ethereahty 
of nature, separated by artificial means, purified and 
made concrete by constriction and scientific multiph- 
cation of its proper Light — the preparation, generation, 
birth, specification — all proceeding, arte mirabili, on 
the hidden basis of its primal eduction. Earliest and 
easiest it attains to the perfection of the mineral 
kingdom ; and the seed of gold, says the adept, is a 
fiery form of Light inspissate, and this is the Stone of 
Fire; — Lapis noster, hie est ignis, ex igne creatus, 
et in ignem vertitur, et anima ejus in igne moratur.^ 
Thus nature, by the help of art, is said to transcend her- 
self, and Light is the true fermenti^te principle which 
perfects the Ether in its proper kind. 

Nor can one be so stupid as to think 
That water of its own accord should cause 
Within itself so great a change, and link 
SuljDhur and mercury with so firm laws, 

Its own dimensions to penetrate 

So many times a metal to create. 

' No, there must be an inward agent granted, 

Else would a thing unchanged still remain ; 

This agent is the form that matter wanted, 

While it its proper nature did retain ; 

This Eorm is Light, the source of central heat, 
Which clothed with matter doth a seed beget. 

The seed no sooner is produced, but soon 

Essays to bring the matter to a change, 

On it it stamps its character, Avhich done, 

The Matter lives, and that which may seem strange, 
Co-worketh with the Form t' attain the end 
To which the seed implanted doth intend, &c.- 

This of the mineral kingdom, where the Formal 
Light, by multiplication in its Ether, is said to produce 
gold ; through superior skill and coction in the vege- 
table life, the elixir of the wise ; and more rarely yet 
in the animal kingdom, and most of all in man ; 
wherein all these are included, and a mj'^stery of Uni- 
versal Being, profound and difficult to govern and no 

^ Rosarium, Democritus Phil. Artis Auriferse, vol. ii. 
"^ Eireneus, Marrow of Alchemy, book i. 45. 



92 Exoteric View. 

less arduous than glorious to sustain. For though the 
material is one throughout, forms are diverse, and in 
him it assumes an Image that is Divine and more po- 
tent than all the rest : which is in this life yet an 
embryo, but when unfolded through a new birth in 
universal intelligence, transcends the limits of this 
nether sphere, and passes into communion with the 
highest life, power, science, and most perfect felicity. 

Of the phenomena of light, electricity, magnetism, 
&c., great account is taken at the present day ; both to 
exhibit them, and to apply their various potencies to the 
affairs of life : but of the real source of these potencies, 
or of the true efficient in any case, nothing is known. 
The beam has been tried and tortured, through pris- 
matic glasses and crystals, every chemical agent has 
been exhausted upon it, and electrical machines have 
been instituted to entrap the fluid, but in vain. 
The learned are free to admit that, though they have 
discovered much of the mysterious influences of light, 
the more is discovered the more miraculous do they 
appear. — It has passed through every test without 
revealing its secrets, and even the effects which it pro- 
duces in its path are unexplained problems still to tax 
the intellects of men.^ These phenomena are effects 
then of a Cause unknown, and that very unknown 
Cause it was the alleged object of the Hermetic experi- 
ment to prove. Shall we not therefore revert to the 
inquiry, and search earnestly, if a glance of faith be 
granted only, to ascertain whether, recovering the 
ancient method of philosophizing, we may advance by 
it to the same end ? 

Truth is no where manifested upon the earth, because 
her forms or sulphurs are perplexed, and the passive 
spirit of nature is included and impure. She is more- 
over specified everywhere, and does not consequently, 
as a true passive, reflect without difference another 
impressing image from without truly to itself. But by 
the Hermetic dissolution the right recipient is said to 

' See Hunt's Poetrv ni' Science. 

Theory of Transmutation. 93 

be obtained, the pure is separated from the impure, 
the subtle ft'om the gross, and the agent and the 
patient are one identity, as in the Emerald Table 
it is graven, — that which is below is as that which is 
above, and that which is above is as that which is below, 
for the performing of the miracles of the One Thing 
whence all the rest proceed by adaptation. — And on this 
unitary basis of production the metamorphosis of spe- 
cies is not so entirely ridiculous. Have we not example 
in the common process of fermentation, the '^ild juice /"7?v 
of grapes converted into wine, and milk into butter and / 
cheese and whey ; and these each proceeding out of 
one thing without requiring the addition of anything 
different : but only by operation of their own ferment 
they become changed into different specific natures? 
Just so is the Vital Spirit said to be, by the art of Al- 
chemy, promoted from one form of being into another 
by its own prepared must or leaven; and as such, in turn, 
it reacts convertively on the elements of its original ex- 
traction ; having previously passed on, through many 
stages, from imperfection to perfection. Analogy of this, 
likewise, we have in the animal kingdom ; caterpillars 
changing their neuter forms quiescently, and becoming 
winged moths. There remains the great difference, how- 
ever, that whereas, in these familiar examples, impri- 
soned nature rests necessarily within the limiting law of 
her species ; the will of the philosophic Proteus is free 
to be drawn without hinderance to form itself about the 
universal magnet of its own infinite self-multiplicative 
Light ; which being transmuted, transmutes ; and mul- 
tiplying, multiplies its proper substance freely, in pro- 
portion to the virtue which it has acquired in the 
fermentation. And hence it may be better conceived, 
perhaps, how this fermented spirit or Stone, (as in the 
crystalline perfectness of its essence it has been called,) 
when brought into contact with the crude life of nature 
whence it sprung, transmutes, /. e. attracts the same 
away from other forms into intimate coalescence with its 
own assimilative light. And notwithstanding metals and 
all things in the world, as the adepts say, derive their 

94 Exoteric View. 

origin from the same Spirit, yet notliing- is reputed so 
nearly allied to it as gold; for in all other nietals there 
is some impurity, and, therefore, a certain weight is 
lost in transmuting from them ; but in gold there is 
none, but the Formal Light is wholly swallowed up in 
it without residue, dissolving intimately, gently, and 
naturally, as they compare it to ice in warm water ; 
an excellent simile, by the way, inasmuch as the com- 
mingling natures differ in estate only and were origi- 
nally one. And I say to you, adds Sendivogius, that 
you must seek for that hidden thing, out of which is 
made, after a wonderful manner, such a moisture or 
humidity which doth dissolve gold without violence or 
noise, but sweetly and naturally ; if you find out this 
you have that thing out of which gold is produced by 
nature. And although all metals have their origin from 
thence, yet nothing is so friendly to it as gold ; it is 
even like a mother to it ; and so finally I conclude.^ 

And the method of working to this discovery, and to 
supply the deficiency of Form to the purified body of 
the Spirit, is described as the same in each of the three 
kingdoms of nature : the preparation only being diver- 
sified according to the variety of things indigent or in- 
tended to be changed. And if the Art has been more 
frequently proved in the mineral kingdom than in the 
other two, we learn that this has happened, not be- 
cause the power is limited here, or because adepts have 
desired gold above every other good ; but because the 
metalline radix first presents itself in the experimental 
process, and is most easily apportioned ; and because the 
responsibility involved is less vital and consequential, it 
has been more freely exhibited and worked at large. 
In metals, says Geber, is lesser perfection than in ani- 
mals ; and the perfection of them consists more in pro- 
portion and composition than in anything else. There- 
fore, seeing in them is less perfection than the othei-, 
we can more fi'cely perfect these. For the Most High 
hath so distinguished perfections fi'om each other in 

^ New LiG^Vit of Alchemv, I'ref'ace to the Pliil. Eniirma. p. 49. 

Theory of Transmutation. 9C) 

many forms ; and those things which in the natural 
composition were weakest, (/' e. where hfe predominates 
over corporeal consistency,) are by God endued W'ith 
gi'eater and more noble perfection, viz., that which 
subsists according to soul or mind. And other 
things by Him made of a more firm and strong com- 
position, as stones and metals, are endued with lesser 
and more ignoble perfection, viz., that which is fi'om 
the w'ay of proportionate mixtion of the matter.^ 
But metals, notwithstanding their inferiority of pro- 
portion, are said to be produced originally, as all 
other things are produced, from metalline seeds out of 
the Universal Spirit or Mercury, by wliich also they may 
be exalted and multiplied, and by no other thing ; for 
that without this Spirit growth is impossible, or trans- 
mutation or increase, and by it all natures are generated 
externally in their proper kinds. And the reason 
that is given why metals wdiich thus include the proli- 
fic principle do not naturally increase, is a deficiency 
of heat, the Spirit being overcome in the gross, pre- 
ponderating elements of their hard composition, so 
that they cannot fructify, unless they be first purged 
from their terrestreity and their tincture set free in 
the subtle Original of all life. Vulgar gold Sendivogius 
compares to a herb without seed, which wdien it is ripe 
bears seed ; and as trees from southern climates cease 
to blossom and bear fruit when transplanted into colder 
soils, so it is with the metals hindered by the crude 
earth of which they are composed. But, he adds, If 
at any time nature be sweetly and wittily helped, then 
art may perfect that which nature could not : gold 
may yield fruit and seed in which it multiplies itself 
by the industry of a skilful artificer, who knows how 
to exalt nature, and this by no other medium than fire 
or heat ; but seeing this cannot be done, since in 
a congealed metallic body there appear no spirits, it is 
necessary that the body be loosened and dissolved, 
and the pores thereof opened, whereby nature may 

1 Invest, of Perf., Eussell's Greber, p. 44. 

96 Exoteric View. 

work.* And thus, continues another, when the mine- 
ral spirit is pure, it will, by its especial forms, do more 
than generate their forms to produce something like 
themselves, for it will work such an alteration in 
things of like nature with themselves, that they shall 
equahze the Philosophical EHxir, whose divine virtues 
wise men so much admire, and fools condemn because 
their blinded eyes cannot penetrate within to the cen- 
tre of the mystery.'^ 

We do not presume to suppose that such a view of 
nature will be immediately acceptable, or that the Her- 
metic theory presents itself even in a plausible aspect 
as yet ; the Laws on this ground are directly inverse to 
our ordinary notions of natural procedure and to our 
acquired conception of simplicity and specific variation. 
But we are not investigating for those who make their 
mere individual experience a negative measure of be- 
lief, and who understand the possibilities of nature 
and art so far as to limit them ; but for such rather 
who, more observing, see reason for hope beyond their 
present vision, and are able to imagine at least those 
surpassing realities which the ancients assert convic- 
tively as having apprehended in intellect and experi- 
mentally known. We have hitherto brought their tes- 
timony so far only as the existence of a Homogeneal 
Subject in nature, showing tliat the same was the ma- 
terial basis of their philosophy, and the only principle of 
transmutation, life, increase, and perfection. We have 
endeavoured also to explain, (as well as the fence with- 
out which we placed ourselves for the preliminary dis- 
cussion would admit,) that the reduction of bodies to 
their original matter, by introversion of the generated 
life, is requisite to a true manifestation and permanence 
in any form, as by the ordinary process of fermentation 
also was famiharly evinced ; furthermore, that this in- 
version is not in the power of unassisted nature, as is 

1 New Light of Alch. Tract. 10; also AuguroUiis C'lirysopaea, 
lib. i. 

^ Nuysenient, Sal, Lumen et Spiritus Mundi, Phil. ed. Com- 

Theory of Transmutation. 97 

evident : indeed, she never withstands or alters for an 
instant her mode of being or vital perpetuity. It is in 
vain, therefore, to seek for that in nature which is an 
effect beyond her strength ; she must be helped, that 
she may exceed herself, or all will be useless. For the 
Mercury of the philosophers is not found of itself on 
earth, nor can be detained or perfected without this oc- 
cult and needful Art assisting her. And these are the 
grand desiderata, to know what the true matter is, 
where and how it may be taken, and to find an artist 
able and fitted to perfect it : — without the former we 
are advised to attempt nothing ; and without the latter 
the former can be practically of no avail. 

Having premised thus much concerning the matter 
with the ground of the Hermetic theory, so far only, 
however, as may enable us to guard against gross mis- 
apprehension ; we propose, previous to entering on a 
more intimate discussion, to set the whole fairly before 
the reader's judgment, in the following translation of the 
Tractatiis Aureus, or Golden Treatise of Hermes, coh- 
cerning the Physical Secret of the Philosopher's Stone, 
which has been considered to be one of the most an- 
cient and complete pieces of alchemical writing extant ; 
and may be regarded as an exposition in epitome of 
the whole Art. Mystical and disorderly as this relic is, 
and must especially appear at first to any one unaccus- 
tomed to the antique style, we trust that the short 
pains may not be grudged that it will cost in passing 
on with us to the discovery of its idea. The treatise 
has been held in high esteem by the alchemists, and 
the Scholia given in part may assist in the perusal. 
Whoever the author may have been (for, though it 
bears the name of Hermes, the true origin is doubtful ;) 
it wears the impress of very great antiquity, and claims 
better than to be frivolously judged of by those who 
are uninitiated in science and ignorant of the kind of 
wisdom it unfolds. Prudence, patience, and penetra- 
tion, the author owns, are required to understand him, 
and more than these for the discovery of his Great Art. 
Books were not written in those davs for the informa- 

98 Exoteric View. 

tion of the illiterate, as though any vulgar distiller or 
mechanic might carry away the golden fleece ; or in 
such a guise that the covetous, who made gold their 
only idol, should readily, without research and the 
due Herculean labour, gather the apples of the Hespe- 
rides : nor yet that any, though learned, as the adept 
adds, should by once or twice overly and slightly read- 
ing, as the dogs lap the waters of Nilus, straightway be 
made a philosopher. No, the magistery of this science 
forbids so great a sacrilege : our books are made for 
those who have been or intend to become conversant 
about the search of nature.^ For this is the first step 
towards the discovery of truth, to be diligent in the 
investigation ; other requirements there are and rea- 
sons for the extraordinary caution that has been used 
to keep the Art concealed, which may in the sequel be 
appreciated when it is intimately understood. 

And ye may trust me 'tis no small ingiun, 
To know all the secrets pertaining to this myne, 
For it is most profouude philosophy, 
This subtill science of holi Alkimy.- 

Vc£^/ ^ See Eiren/us Ripley Eevived. 

/ 2 Norton's Ordinal. 

The Golden Treatise. 99 


The Golden Treatise of Hennes Trismegistus, cun- 
cermng the Physical Secret of the Philosopher's 
Stone. In seven Sections. 


EVEN thus saith Hermes : Through long years, I 
have not ceased to experiment, neither have I 
spared any labour of mind ; and this science and art 
1 have obtained by the sole inspiration of the living 
God, who judged fit to open them to me His servant ;^ 
who has given to rational creatures the power of 
thinking and judging aright, forsaking none, or giving 
to any occasion to despair.^ 

For myself, I had never discovered this matter to 
any one, had it not been from fear of the day of judg- 
ment, and the perdition of my soul, if I concealed it. 
It is a debt which I am desirous to discharge to the 

1 There are three things said to be necessary for the attainment 
of the Hermetic science : viz., study, experience, and the divine 
benediction ; and these depend upon each other : study is required 
for the theory, and this for entering into the central experience 
which, in the Universal Spirit, is not found without God. 

^ Without theoretic knowledge and a right principle to begin 
^^^th, many have wearied themselves in experimenting, even with 
the right subject, in vain ; but the true intention once discovered, 
the whole truth opens, as practice siicceeds to theory, alternating 
in the philosophic work. You must know, says Geber, that he 
who in himself knows not natural principles is very remote from 
our art, because he has not a true root whereon to found his in- 
tention ; but he who knows the principles and the way of genera- 
tion, which consists according to the intention of nature, is bvit a 
very short way from the completement. (Sum of Perf. booki.). 
See also Norton's Ordinal Proheme, and chapters i. and iv. ; and 
the Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Eege*» Palatio, cap. viii. &c. C^ 

H 2 

100 Exoteric View. 

faithful, as the Father of the faithful did hberally be- 
stow it upon me.^ 

Understand ye then, O sons of Wisdom, that the 
knowledge of the four elements of the ancient philo- 
sophers was not corporally or imprudently sought 
after, which are through patience to be discovered ac- 
cording to their causes and their occult operation. 
But their operation is occult, since nothing is done 
except the matter be decompounded, and because it is 
not perfected unless the colours be throughly passed 
and accomplished.'^ 

Know then, that the division that w^as made upon 
the Water, by the ancient philosophers, separates it into 
four substances ; one into two, and three into one ; 
the third part of which is colour, as it were — a coagu- 
lated moisture ; but the second and third waters are 
the Weights of the Wise.^ 

^ Our author hereby declares that it was conscience which 

moved him to disclose his dearly-acquired knowledge, but in such 

terms only to the world that the studious might understand and 

follow in his steps. He nowhere, therefore, addresses the igno- 

Q rant, lest his instruction should be abused ; but the predestined 

^ sons of wisdom, to guide them, being already initiated, furtlier into 

^ the practice of his high art. 

2 Here we have a premonitory opening of the philosophic work 
which Hermes calls a knowledge of the elements ; which elements, 
however, are not commonly to be understood ; noH corporaliter, as 
the Scholiast explains, sed spiritualitei' etsajnenter, — not corporally 
but spiritually and wisely ; for the properties of the Universal 
Spirit are abstrusely included in all existence, and to be understood 
only by its own intimate analysis and introverted light. But 
nothing is done except the matter be decompounded ; for there 
are many heterogeneous images and superfluities adhering to this 
subject in its natural state, which render it u]itit for progress ; 
these therefore must be entirely discharged ; which, say the adepts, 
is impossible without the theory of their arcanum, in wliich they 
show the medium by which the radical element is discovered and 
set free to the accomplishment of its inclusive law. See The 
Scholium — Paracelsus 1st book to the Athenians. K. Lullii 
Theoria et Practica, cap. iii. Norton's Ordinal, cap. v. Eipley's . 
Third Gate, &c. Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Eegam Palatio, /-S/ 
cap. viii. / 

^ Tlie philosophic water then, being divided iuto four parts or 
hypostatic relations, they are called elements. First, the one part, 
being divided, ])roduces two, which are as agent and patient in 

The Golden Treatise. 101 

Take of the humidity or moisture an ounce and a 
half, and of the Southern Redness, which is the soul of 
gold, a fourth part, that is to say, half an ounce ; of 
the citrine Seyre, in like manner, half an ounce ; of the 
Auripigment, half an ounce, — which are eight ; that is 
three ounces. And know ye that the vine of the wise 
is drawn forth in three, but the wine thereof is not 
perfected, until at length thirty be accomplished.^ 
Understand the operation, therefore, decoction les- 
, ^ sens the matter, but the tincture augments it : because 
^^^^>L/Luna kr fifteen days is diminished ; and in the third, 
she is augmented. This is the beginning and the end.^ 

the ethereal world ; further afterwards, from their conjunction, 
three are said to be made manifest as body, soul, and spirit, which 
co-operating together in tlie unity of the same Spirit, beget all 
things, giving birtli to the whole substratal nature. The dif- 
ferences of the colours, observes the Scholiast, Hermes divides 
into two threes, i. e. into three red spirits and tliree white, which 
have their growth all from the same identical water, and are re- 
solved into the same again. By considering, therefore, that this 
water or mercury of the adepts has, within itself, its own good 
sulphur, or vital flame, thou mayest perfect all things out of 
mercury ; but if thou shalt know to add thy weights to the weights 
of nature, to double mercury and triiile sulphur, it will quickly be 
terminated in good, then in better, until into best of all. See the 
Scholium ; Sendivogius' New Light of Alchemy, p. 117 ; Arnoldi 
Speculum, Disp. viii. 

^ The proportional working of the philosophic matter upon its 
parts is indicated by adepts under variously perplexed forms and 
measures. Those distinctions which Hermes makes of the hu- 
midity, the southern redness, soul of gold, seyre, citrine, auripig- 
ment, the vine of philosophers and their wine, have no other sig- 
nification, says the Scholiast, but that the Spirit should be seven 
times distilled, which after the eighth distillation is converted by 
force of the fire into ashes, or a most subtle powder which, by 
reason of its purity and perfection, resists the fire. IVeither 
wonder, he adds, that eight pai'ts and three ounces are equivalent ; 
for by the former section the one part is divided into two, to each 
of wlaich there are added three parts, which are the true philo- 
sophic proportions called also by Hermes the Weights of the Wise. 
See the Scholium ; Ripley's Epistle ; Introit. Apert. cap. vii. ; 
Norton's Ordinal, cap. v. 

2 Understand here the diminution and increase of that ethereal 
light, which is the passive luminary in the Philosophic Heaven, 
whose changes and manifest operations are described as wonderfully 
parallel with those of the familiar satellite, by which the philosopher 
vt covex't.^ ':^ indicatesher. Some divide the operation of the 

102 Exoteric View. 

Behold, I have declared that which was hidden, 
since the work is both with thee and about thee ; that 
which was within is taken out and fixed, and thou 
canst have it either in earth or sea.^ 

Keep, therefore, thy Argent vive, which is prepared 
in the innermost chamber in which it is coagulated ; 
for that is the Mercury which is celebrated from the 
residual earth. ^ 

philosopher's stone into two parts ; the former Hermes calls de- 
coction, which dissolving the matter, discharges also its impuri- 
ties by a proper ride ; until, being at length on the verge of 
annihilation, i. e. freed from every exteriorly attracting form, it 
prepares, as Democritus in the fable of Proteus alludes, to restore 
itself through a powerfixl inbred revolutionary force. Then follows 
what is called the Second Work, which is only, in continuation of 
the First, to perfect the newly informed embryo and multiply its 
vivific light. In such few words, therefore, Hermes professes to 
comprehend the whole of the artificial process of working the 

1 Herein is the work commended and suggested to true in- 
quirers, that they may forsake the beaten road of experiment, and 
seek to know intrinsically within themselves the substance of that 
Universal Natm-e in which they, with all beings in common, as it 
were, unconsciously live ; which, in the natural order of genera- 
tion, is made occult, abiding throughout invisibly. And as was 
explained in the theory concerning other gross elementary bodies, 
that the true original cannot be made manifest except they be 
reduced into it ; so with respect to man, that which is sown, (viz. 
the catholic germ of his existence which comprehends all things, 
according to the Hermetic tradition, and mystery of the whole 
causal nature, with the faitli and assurance of a better life,) is not 
quickened except it die. That which is within, viz. the causal 
light, must be drawn forth by art and fixed ; and that which is 
without, viz. the sensual spirit of life must be made fluxile and 
occultated before reason can become into tliat Identity by which 
the powers of the Universal Nature are made manifest and intrin- 
sically imderstood. But intending to enlarge inquiry on this 
head, we defer our comments. 

2 Our mercury, says tlie wise Scholiast, is philosophic, fiery, 
vital, running, which may be mixed with all other metals and 
again separated from them. It is prepared in the innermost 
chamber of life, and there it is coagulated, and where metals grow 
there they may be found, even in the ultimate axle of each created 
life. If you have found tliis argent vive, then, which is the resi- 
duum of the philosophic earth after the separation, keep it safely, 
for it is worthy. If you have brought your mercurial spirit to 
ashes or burnt it by its own fire, you have, continues our inform- 
ant, an incomparable treasure, a thing more precious tlian gold ; 

The Golden Treatise. 103 

He, therefore, who now hears my words, let him 
search into them ; which are to justify no evil-doer, 
but to benefit the good ; therefore, I have discovered 
all things that were before hidden concerning this 
knowledge, and disclosed the greatest of all secrets, 
even the Intellectual Science.^ 

Know ye, therefore. Children of Wisdom, who in- 
quire concerning the report thereof, that the vulture 
standing upon the mountain crieth out with a loud 
voice, I am the White of the Black, and the Red of the 
White, and the Citrine of the Red ; and behold I speak 
the very truth. ^ 

And know that the chief principle of the art, is the 
Crow which is the blackness of the night and clearness 
of the day, and flies without wings. From the bitter- 
ness existing in the throat, the tincture is taken ; the 
red goes forth from his body, and from his back is 
taken a thin water. ^ 

for this is that which generates the Stone, and is born of it, and 
it is the whole secret which converts all other metalline bodies in- 
to silver and gold, making both hard and soft, agent and patient, 
putting tincture and fixity upon them. See the Scholium, Maria 
Practica, circa finem ; Introit. Apert. cap. iv. and v. ; Ku|(nrath, 
Amph. Isag. in fig. 

^ Grive not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye 
your pearls before swine, says the Divine Teacher ; and some men 
the Scriptures have compared to dogs, yea greedy dogs, wolves 
and foxes ; these are unfit to be admitted to the Causal Know- 
ledge, lest, handling the powerful machine of nature recklessly 
or unjustly for selfish ends, they subvert the order of fijial causes, 
and, rifling her treasury, turn again and rend her. Hermes leaves 
the Mystery thus, therefore, to unfold itself through study and 
faithful experiment, that the mind by searching and patient in- 
vestigation may be prepared and able to appreciate the truth when 
found. We, also, intending to explore the Intellectual Ground 
more fully hereafter, follow in its own wilfial order the Hermetic 

2 The vulture, according to our Scholiast, is the new born quint- 
essential spirit or Proteus ; the mountain upon which the vulture 
stands is a fit vessel placed in a well-built philosophic furnace en- 
compassed with a wall of fire. In him all the multifarious virtues 
of nature are declared to be held in capacity, as in rapid evolu- 
tion he passes about his axis, making the light manifest without 
refraction in every variety of its colouring and creative imagina- 

•'' The vulture and the crow are interpreted to be one and the 


104 Exoteric View. 

Understand, therefore, and accept this gift of God 
which is hidden from the thoughtless world. In the 
caverns of tlie metals there is hidden the Stone that 
is venerable, splendid in colour, a mind sublime, and 
an open sea. Behold, I have declared it unto thee ; 
give thanks to God, who teacheth thee this know- 
ledge ; for He in return recompenses the grateful.' 

Pat the matter into a moist fire, therefore, and 

same thing, only differing somewhat iu estate. Whilst the Spirit 
of life appears active and devouring in the process, it has been 
called the vulture, and when it lies in a more obscured and passive 
condition, the crow. The vultm'e is the first sublimed quint- 
essence not 3et perfected by art ; the crow is also in the infancy 
of that work wherein the revivified spirit is united with its solar 
ferment. The blackness of the night is the putrefaction of the 
same, and the clearness of the day signifies its resurrection to 
a state of comparative purity. It flies without wings, being 
borne and carried by the fixed spirit ; and the bitterness existing 
in the tliroat occultly indicates the death of the first life, whence 
the sold is educed ; which is also the red and living tinctiu'e taken 
from the body ; and the thin water is the viscous humidity made 
by the dissolution, which radically dissolves all metals, and re- 
duces them into their first ens, or water. 

Montis in excelso consistit vertice vultur 
Assidue damans, Albus ego atque niger, 

Citrinus, rubeusque feror nil mentior : idem est 
Corvus, qui pennis absque volare solet 

Xocte tenebrosa mediaque in luce dieri, 
Namque ortis caput est ille vel iste tuae. 

— See The Scholium — Atalanta Fugieus Emblema, xliii. 

^ Our author here, repeating his exception of the unintelligent, 
at the same time eloquently identifies the philosophic matter, 
calling it meyis subliinis et mare patens. It is hidden in the caverns 
of the metals; that is to say, in the central motion of the mineral 
life, where the spirit is first coagulated and conceives itself into a 
concrete form. It is called a stone, say the adepts, because its 
generation is seen to be like that of stones, and it is a true 
mineral petrifaction: therefore Alphidius writes — Si lapis pro- 
prium nomen haberet lapis esset nomen ejus ; and Arnold — Est 
lapis et non lapis spiritus, anima, corpus, quem si dissolvis dissol- 
vitur, et si coagules coagulatur, et si volare facis volat ; est enini 
volatilis, albus ut lachryma oculi. It is a stone and no stone, 
spirit, soul, and body, which if thou dissolvest, it will be dis- 
solved ; and if thou coagulatest, it will be coagulated ; and if 
thou dost make it fly, it will fly, for it is volatile and clear as a 
tear, etc. Sec Arnoldi Speculum— Kii)|inrath Ampli. Isag. in fig. 
cap. iii. 

The Golden Treatise, 105 

cause it to boil, in order that its heat may be aug- 
mented, which destroys the siccity of the incombus- 
tible nature, until the radix shall appear ; then extract 
the redness and the light parts, till only about a third 

Sons of Science ! For this reason are philosophers 
said to be envious, not that they grudged the truth to 
religious or just men, or to the wise ; but to fools, ig- 
norant, and vicious, who are without self-control and 
benevolence, least they should be made powerful, and 
able to perpetrate sinful things. For of such the 
philosophers are made accountable to God, and evil 
men are not admitted worthy of this wisdom.^ 

^ Many ways are mentioned by adepts of acting with their 
matter as by sublimation, calcination, coagulation, inceration, 
fixation, &c. ; which may all however be comprehended under the 
first term rightly understood ; for the Hermetic sublimation, re- 
peatedly operated over and over again, is the occasion of many 
changes in the matter and efiects, which, though differently desig- 
nated, are in their source the same. This sublimation is not, there- 
fore, exactly to be conceived by analogy with the ordinary chemical 
process, which is a mere elevation of the subject to the top 
of the vessel ; but the Hermetic sviblimation is said to change the 
matter, qualifying and meliorating each time that it succeeds ; 
urging on life, as it were, to the utmost exercise of vivacity, to 
save itself from death and a total disseveration. Concerning the 
peculiar nature, origin, and artificial excitation of the philosophic 
fire, we may more effectively inquire hereafter. — See Kipley 
Eevived, p. 2G3 ; Lumen de Lumine, p. 58 ; Introit. Apert. cap. iii. 

- The monitions to secresy are no less stringent than frequent 
in the writings of adepts, modern as well as ancient. Thus, 
Raymond LuUy, in his Thesaurus, gives the following charge : 
— Juro tibi supra animam meam quod si ea reveles, dam- 
natus es : nam a Deo omne procedit bonum et ei soli debetur. 
Quare servabis et secretum tenebis illud quod ei debetiu' revelan- 
dum, &c. And Norton -oi-ites — 

So this science must ever secret be. 
The cause whereof is this, as ye may see : 
If one evil man had hereof all his will. 
All Christian peace he might easily spill ; 
And with his pride he might pull do\Aai 
Eightful Kings and Princes of renown. 
Wherefore the sentence of peril and jeopardy 
Upon the teacher resteth dreadfully. 

See LuUii Testam. ; Aquinas Thesau. Alchim. ; Norton's Ordinal, 
cap. i. and viii. ; E. Bacon, Speculum. 

106 Exoteric View. 

Know that this matter I call the Stone ; but it is 
also named the feminine of magnesia, or the hen, or 
the white spittle, or the volatile milk, the incombus- 
tible oil, in order that it may be hidden from the inept 
and ignorant, who are deficient in goodness and self- 
control ; which I have nevertheless signified to the 
wise by one only epithet, viz., the Philosopher's 
Stone. Include, therefore, and conserve in this sea, 
the fire, and the heavenly bird, to the latest moment 
of his exit. But I deprecate ye all, sons of philo- 
sophy, on whom the great gift of this knowledge 
being bestowed, if any should undervalue or divulge 
the power thereof to the ignorant, or such as are unfit 
for the knowledge of this secret.^ 

Behold, 1 have received nothing from any, to whom 
I have not returned that which had been given me, 
nor have I failed to honour him ; even in this I have 
reposed the highest confidence. 


^ The philosophic matter has indeed received many perplexing 
appellations, some more, some less significative of its real origin 
and essence ; but in the concrete form, and for reasons before 
given in part, it has been properly called the Stone. In this 
same universal matter of the Stone also Hermes includes all its 
multinominal ingredients. In its flowing, humid state it is called 
the sea of the wise, passive to all impressions and influences of 
the light. By the tire and heavenly bird are signified, says the 
scholiast, the external and internal agents in the Hermetic 
work, by either of which it is conserved and nourished to the end, 

2 In friendship, gratitude, and reciprocity of benefaction, say 
the adepts, consists the chief art of operating with their matter ; 
and no man, for reasons hereafter explicable, can operate the 
Hermetic artifice alone. 

So saith Amolde of the New TowTie, 

As his Rosary maketh mencione ; 

He sayeth right thus withouteu any lye 

There may noe man IMercury mortifye, 

But it be with his brother's knowledging. 

Lo, now he which first declared this thing 

Of philosophers' father was, Hermes the King. 

See Chaucer's Tale of the Chanuon's Yeoman, Theat. Chem. 
Brit, page 251. Arnoldi Rosarium, circa fiiiem. 

The Golden Treatise. 107 

This, O son, is the concealed Stone of many colours ; 
which is born and brought forth in one colour ; know 
this and conceal it. By this, the Almighty favouring, 
the greatest diseases are escaped, and every sorrow, 
distress, and evil and hurtful thing is made to depart ; 
for it leads from darkness into light, from this desert 
wilderness to a secure habitation, and from poverty 
and straights to a free and ample fortune.^ 


My son, before all things I admonish thee to fear 
God, in whom is the strength of thy undertaking ; and 
the bond of whatsoever thou meditatest to unloose : 
whatsoever thou hearest, consider it rationally. For I 
hold thee not to be a fool. Lay hold, therefore, of 
my instructions and meditate upon them, and so let 
thy heart be fitted also to conceive, as if thou wast 
thyself the author of that which I now teach. If thou 
appliest cold to any nature that is hot, it will not hurt 
it : in like manner, he who is rational shuts himself 
within from the threshold of ignorance ; lest supinely 
he should be deceived.^ 

' The consummate union of tlie purified spirit with its source 
is thus covertly indicated by Hermes as the true corner-stone 
of his philosophy ; and that tincture of many dyes which, being 
dissolved renews itself, and dying survives itself, until its Final 
Cause is fully manifest and accomplished. This is the elixir of Light 
from the central essence, so set free, that it is said to prolong 
life, and cure disease and moral indigence and physical defects, 
mingling with the common breath of nature the efficacy of an 
exalted life and love. 

2 Further suggestions are now given concerning the true sub- 
ject and operation of the Hermetic work. Having previously 
shown that the way to the attainment of the magistery is by com- 
munion with the ruling Spirit of nature ; entering yet deeper as the 
work progresses towards the Causal discovery, Hermes admonishes 
the student earnestly to fear and obey its Law ; lest, being trans- 
gressed in any part, man should work evil instead of good through 
its means.— The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the 
knowledge of the Holy is understanding ; — and this, in the most 
profound sense, is said to be proved in Alchemy, and that they 
only who have become conversant by experience in the Fontal 

108 Exoteric View. 

Take the flying bird and drown it flying, and di- 
vide and separate it from its pollutions, which yet hold 
it ill death ; draw it forth, and repel it from itself, that 
it may live and answer thee, not by flying away into 
the regions above, but by truly forbearing to fly. For 
if thou shalt deliver it out of its prison, after this thou 
shalt govern it according to Reason, and according to 
the days that I shall teach thee ; then will it become 
a companion unto thee, and by it thou wilt become to 
be an honoured lord.^ 

Extract from the ray its shadow, and from the light 
its obscurity, by which the clouds hang over it and 
keep away the light ; by means of its constriction, 
also, and fiery redness, it is burned. Take, my son, 
this redness, corrupted with the water, which is as a 
live coal holding the fire, w^hich if thou shalt withdraw 
so often until the redness is made pure, then it will 
associate with thee, by whom it was cherished, and in 
wdiom it rests.- 

Nature have truly and properly understood wliat it is, and why 
God is to be feared. Ingrafted i'n that root, writes our scholiast, 
the true understanding will grow up in thee, and fill thee, even as 
the body is filled, with life. Thou must enter with thy whole 
spirit into the centre of natui'e, and there behold how all things 
are begun, continvied, and perfected. But thou must fii'st enter 
into that Spirit which is the Framer of all things, which pierces 
through and dwells in that central root ; and by entering into 
that, it will, as a vehicle, carry thee into the same root where all 
tilings arc hidden, and reveal to thee the most recondite mysteries, 
and show thee, as in a glass, the whole work and laboratory of the 
most secret nature. Hermes, therefore, recommends him who is 
rational, and desires the further instruction of his reason, to shut 
liimself within, away from the distractions of sense and this life's 
ignorance, and learn to open to himself the door of a higher con- 
sciousness, lest in the outward acceptation of words or things lie 
should be deceived. Having premised thus mucli, he proceeds to 
detail the process by which the spirit is carried on from each 
succeeding dissolution into a more perfect form of being. 

^ Tliese images, indicating the mode of rational operation with 
the freed spii'it and its soul, wiU appear Liievitably obscure. Tlie 
entire process is repeated many times before perfection is arrived 
at ; and instructions for each, according to the arising phenomena, 
are given by the scholiast at full length. 

2 A shadow y darkness passes always along with the philosophic 

The Golden Treatise. 109 

Return then, O ray son, the coal being extinct in 
life, upon the water for thirty days, as I shall note to 
thee ; and, henceforth, thou art a crowned king, rest- 
ing over the fountain, and drawing from thence the 
Auripigment dry, without moisture. And now, I have 
made the heart of the hearers, hoping in thee, to re- 
joice even in their eyes, beholding thee in anticipation 
of that which thou possessest.^ 

body, moving in its own light until it is thoroughly purified from 
sensual defilements. Now that the clearness may be manifest 
throughout without obscurity, says the scholiast, the body must 
be repeatedly opened and made thin after its fixation and dis- 
solved and putrefied, and as the grain of wheat sown in the earth 
putrefies before it springs up into a new growth or vegetation, 
so our Magnesia, contiaues he, being sown in the Philosophic 
Earth, dies and corrupts, that it may conceive itself anew. It is 
purified by separation, and is dissolved, digested, and coagulated, 
sublimed, incerated, and fixed by the reciprocated action of its 
own proper Identity, as agent and patient, alternating to improve. 
The water spoken of by Hermes is the passive spirit, the redness 
is its soul, and the earth begot betwixt them is the substance or 
body of both — -the spirit thereafter penetrates the body, and the 
body fixes the spirit — the soul being conjoined, tinges the whole 
of its proper colour, whether white or red. This process is given 
in the following enigma, by the excellent author of the Aquarium 
Sapientiim, or Water Stone : — 

Spiritus ipse datiir pro tempore corpori, at ille 

Exhilarans Animam Spiritus arte cluet. 
Spiritus ille Animam subito si contrahit ad se, 

Nullum se abjungit segregat aque suo. 
Tunc tria consistunt et in una sede morantur. 

Donee solvatur, nobile corpus, opus. 
Putrescat nee non moriatur, separat istis : 

Tempore at elapso Spiritus atque Anima 
^stu conveniunt extreme sive calore, 

Quisque suam sedem cum gravitate tenet. 
Integritas prsesto est, nulla et perfectio desit 

Amplis laetitiis glorificatur opus. 

See the Scholium, and Aquarium Sapientflm, Musaeum Hei-- 
meticum, p. 95. 

1 Here again the allusions will appear wilfully obscure to the 
uninitiated, for the master presupposes not only a knowledge of 
the Matter, but of the Vessel also in which it is scientifically con- 
cocted ; but we must pass on. The life of the coal is fire, which 

110 Exoteric VIEvv^ 

Observe, then, that the water was first in the air, 
then in the earth ; restore thoii it, also, to the supe- 
riors by its proper windings, and not foolishly alter- 
ing it ; then to the former spirit, gathered in its red- 
ness, let it be carefully conjoined.^ 

Know, my son, that the fatness of our earth is 
sulphur, the auripigment, siretz, and colcothar, which 
are also sulphur ; of which auripigments, sulphur, and 
such like, some are more vile than others, in which 
there is a diversity ; of which kind also is the fat of 
glewy matters, such as are hair, nails, hoofs, and sul- 
phur itself, and of the brain, which too is auripig- 
ment ; of the like kind also are the lion's and cat's 

being extinct, becomes a dead body ; nor of coal alone, but of all 
other things light is the life, and it is heat that conserves it. But 
the essence of life, says the scholiast, is nothing else tlian a pure, 
naked, unmingled Fire ; not that indeed which is corrupting and 
elementary, but that which is subtle, celestial, and generating all 
things. The same is of metals their first matter containing the 
three principals, the Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, of which so much 
has been spoken and ignorantly misapplied. By the crowned 
king, Hermes signifies the first manifested resplendence of the 
vital tincture ; the well is, as- the catholic spirit of life, inex- 
haustible ; at the bottom, or centre rather, of which subsists the 
occ^llt Causality of all ; even from this, the true efficient wheel, is 
drawn, according to tradition, that auripigment of philosophers 
which is the multiplicative virtue of their stone. AVhen thou 
shalt see thy exhalations to return, teaches the adept, and by 
continuance of them on thy body, light shall begin to appear with 
such admirable colours as never were seen by the eye of man in 
so little a room before ; then rejoice, for now our king hath 
triumphed over the miseries of death, and behold him returning 
in the East, with clouds, in power and great glory. Here thou 
mayest rest and bait, and enjoy the glory of thy white elixir; now 
is the time at liand in Avhich that of the poet is fulfilled. 

Ne te poeniteat faciem fuligine pingi 
Adferet hsec Phoebi nigra fo,villa jubar. 

jCX^I See Eiren^us, Eipley Re\"ived ; Yaughan, Lumen de Lumine, p. 

! I 58, &c. ; Antlirop. Theomag. p. 22 ; and the Scholium. 

' Convert the elements, says Arnold, and you shall have wliat 
you desire ; that is to say, separate the matter into its essential 
relationships, and join them again together in harmonious pro- 
portion. — See Arnoldi Speculum sub initio, Basil Valentine's Stone 
of Fire, Smaragdine Table, .^'c. 

The Golden Treatise. 1 1 1 

claws, which is siretz : the fat of white bodies, and the 
fat of the two oriental quicksilvers, which sulphurs are 
hunted and retained by the bodies.^ 

1 say, moreover, that this sulphur doth tinge and 
fix, and is held by the conjunction of the tinctures ; 
oils also tinge, but fly away, which in the body are 
contained, which is a conjunction of fugitives only with 
sulphurs and albuminous bodies, which hold also and 
detain the fugitive Ens.^ 

The disposition sought after by the philosophers, O 
son, is but one in our egg ; but this in the hen's egg is 
much less to be found. But lest so much of the 
Divine Wisdom as is in a hen's egg should not be dis- 
tinguished, our composition is, as that is, from the 
four elements adapted and composed.^ 

Know, therefore, that in the hen's egg is the greatest 
help with respect to the proximity and relationship of 
the matter in nature ; for in it there is a spirituality 
and conjunction of elements, and an earth which is 
golden in its tincture.* 

• Hermes alludes here in part to tlie various manifestations of 
tlie spirit in this natural life, and the vegetable growth of it 
in animal bodies. The occult luminous principle of vitalization 
he calls sulphur, auripigment, &c., hiding it also under a variety 
of other covertures. 

2 A distinction is here made by our author of the different 
estates and uses of the philosophic sulphur, or Light, as it be- 
comes developed in the Hermetic work. 

^ Hermes divides the matter into four parts, as was before seen, 
comparing also its vital composition to that of a hen's egg, which 
answers in all respects, excepting the catholicity, to the compound 
simple of this art. 

Est avis in mundo sublimior omnibus, ovum 

Cujus ut inquiras, cura sit una tibi. 
Albumen luteum circumdat molle vitellum, 

Ignito (ceu mos) cautus id ense petas : 
Vulcano Mars addat opem : puUaster et inde 

Exortus, ferri victor et ignis erit. 

See Atalanta Eugiens, p. 41, Epigramma viii. and the Scholium. 

* The Alchemists uniformly recommend us to observe nature, 
that from analogy we may be better able to imagine and judge of 


But the son, enquiring of Hermes, saith — The sul- 
phurs which are tit for our work, wliether are they 
coelestial or terrestrial ? To whom the Father answers, 
certain of them are heavenly, and some are of the 
earth. ^ 

Then the son saith — Father, I imagine the heart in 
the superiors to be heaven, and in the inferiors earth. 
But saith Hermes — It is not so ; the masculine truly is 
the heaven of the feminine, and the feminine is the 
earth of the masculine.^ 

The son then asks — Father, which of these is more 
w^orthy than the other ; whether is it the heaven or the 
earth ? Hermes replies — Both need the help one of the 
other; for the precepts demand a medium. But, 
saith the son, if thou shalt say that a wise man 
governs all mankind? But ordinary men, replies 
Hermes, are better for them, because every nature de- 
lights in society of its own kind, and so we find it to 
be in the Life of Wisdom where Equals are conjoined. 
But what, rejoins the son, is the mean betwixt them? 
To whom Hermes replies — In everything in nature 
there are three from two, the beginning, the middle, 
and the end. First the needful water, then the oily 
tincture, and lastly the foeces or earth which remains 
below. ^ 

the proper method of experimenting, and learn to co-operate witli 
her Spirit eficctnally to regenerate it. For particulars of the 
Hermetic similitude, see the Scliolium. 

^ A short dialogue hereupon ensues between Hermes and his 
son ; the father explaining that the distinctions of lights or sul- 
phurs in the process ouglit not to be indiflerently understood, as 
if they were all of one quality or idea. For the spirit, though one 
in essence, is extremely diversified in its conception, as also 
according to the degree and order of its rectification by art. 

^ The purified sulphur fixed and incombustible, is the generat- 
ing seed of the universal nature, according to the adepts ; but the 
mercury (which is tlie recreated body of the spirit, passive and 
pure) is sometimes called the earth of the wise, conceiving into 
itself the same seed by which it is also nourished, digested, per- 
fected, and brought to birth — that is, to a visible manifestation of 
its intrinsical virtue and light. But the son's allusion is intimate 
to the art, and particular. See the Scholium. 

-* When, by their strong attracting law, the active and passive 

The Golden Treatise. 113 

But the Dragon inhabits in all these, and his 
houses are the darkness and blackness that is in 
them, and by them he ascends into the air, from his 
rising which is their heaven. But, whilst the fume 
remains in them, they are not immortal. Take away 
therefore the vapour from the water, and the blackness 
from the oilv tincture, and death from the faeces : and 
by dissolution thou shalt possess a triumphant reward, 
even that in and by which the possessors live.^ 

relations are conjoined in the Spirit, they become equalised in 
their progeny ; and as the mystical problem of the Trinity includes 
three in one and one in three — agent, patient, and offspring uni- 
versal and co-equal ; so these three are found to be in all created 
things imitatively, the paternal, maternal, and proceeding ens of 
life. And there are the Salt, Sulphur, and Mercmy of the adepts, 
without ^Yhich, they say truly, nothing ever is or can be vitally 
substantialised. And thou hast in these three principles, says 
Sendivogius, a body, a spirit, and an ocevdt soul ; which three, 
(being of one only substance in a triple relationship,) if thou shalt 
join them together, having been previously separated and well puri- 
fied, will without fail, by imitating nature, yield most pure fruits 
&c. "When the adept speaks therefore of a natural triplicity, he 
speaks, reiterates Vaughan, not of kitchen-stuff, those three pot- 
principles of water, oil, and earth — or, as som.e call them, salt, sul- 
phur, and mercury ; but he speaks of hidden intrinsical natures, 
known only to absolute magicians, whose eyes are in the centre and 
not on the circumference, and in this light, every element is 
threefold. — See Anthrop. Theomag. p. 22 ; Sendivogius, New 
Light of Alchemy, Digby's Ed. p. 3 ; and the Scholium. 

^ The dragon is the self-willed spirit, which is externally de- 
rived into nature, by the fall into generation. And by it, says the 
scholiast, Hermes especially signifies the blackness of the matter 
on its first ascension, which is operated with difficulty on accomit 
of its thick glutinous body, which has to be resolved, by force of 
the philosophic art, into an aerial and vaprous substance ; and 
during this process, we are informed, the powers of the Philoso- 
phic Heaven are wonderfully shaken and defiled, insomuch, that 
tike a poisonous dragon it destroys all that it touches, and hence 
it is said to have its houses in darkness, and to possess blackness 
and mortality, and death ; for the root of this science is a deadly 
poison. Therefore, says Hermes, take away the vapour from the 
water, and the blackness from the oily tincture, and deatli from 
the faeces, that the component principles may be pure, and by 
dissolution thou shalt possess a triumphant reward, even that in 
and by which the possessors live. Thus, the evil of the original 
sin is said to be discovered by a radical dissolution of the spiint, 
and without this discovery and the arising evil, it cannot return 


114 Exoteric View. 

Know then, my son, that the temperate unguent, 
wliicli is fire, is the medium between the fueces and 
the water, and is the Perscrutinator of the water. 
For the unguents are called sulphurs, because between 
fire and oil and this sulphur there is such a close 
proximity, that even as fire burns so does the sulphur 

All the sciences of the world, O son, are compre- 
hended in this my hidden Wisdom ; and this and the 
learning of the Art consists in these wonderful hidden 
elements which it doth discover and complete. It 
behoves him, therefore, who would be introduced to 
this hidden Wisdom, to free himself from the usurpa- 
tions of vice ; and to be just, and good, and of a sound 
reason, ready at hand to help mankind, of a serene 
countenance, dih'gent to save, and be himself a patient 
guardian of the arcane secrets of philosophy.^ 

And this know, that except thou understandest how 
to mortify and induce generation, to vivify the Spirit, 
and introduce Light, until they fight wn'th each other 
and grow white and freed from their defilements, rising 
as it were from blackness and darkness, thou knowest 
nothing, nor canst perform anything; but if thou 

to its pristine purity and. the immortality of its first source. 
Cause, therefore, adds a no less subtle than experienced adept, 
such an operation in our earth, tliat the central heat may change 
the water into air, that it may go forth into the plains of the 
world and scatter the residue through tlie pores of the eartli ; and 
then, contrariwise, the air will be turned into watei', far more 
subtle than the first water was. And this is done thus : if thou 
give our old man gold or silver to swallow, that he may consume 
them, and then he also dying may be burned, and his ashes scat- 
tered into the w^ater, and thou shalt boil that water until it be 
enough, thou shalt have a medicine to cure the leprosy (of life). 
See tlie Scholium ; Sendivogius, New Light, p. 35 ; Maria Practica. 

^ The knowledge of this secret sulphur, says the Scholiast, and 
how to prepare it and use it in this work includes the whole 
art of perfection. It is tlie stirrer-up of the whole power and 
efficacy and purifier of the matter ; hence Hermes calls it the 
Perscrutinator, eminently distinguishing the Eational ferment, con- 
cerning which it will be our purpose to inquire hereafter. 

- The whole paragraph will speak plainly for itself when it is 
understood, which we leave for the present therefore unexplained. 

The Golden Treatise. 115 

knowest this, thou wilt be of a great dignity, so that 
even kings themselves shall reverence thee. These 
secrets, son, it behoves thee to conceal from the 
vulgar and profane world. ^ 

Understand also, that, our Stone is from many 
things and of various colours, and composed from 
four elements, which we ought to divide and dissever 
in pieces, and segregate, in the veins ; and partly mor- 
tifying the same by its proper nature, which is also in 
it, to preserve the water and fire dwelling therein, 
which is from the four elements and their waters, 
which contain its water : this however is not water in 
its true form, but fire, containing in a pure vessel the 
ascending waters, lest the spirits should fly away 
from the bodies ; for, by this means, they are made 
tinging and fixed. ^ 

O, blessed watery form, that dissolvest the elements ! 
Now it behoves us, with this watery Soul, to possess 
ourselves of a sulphurous Form, and to mingle the 
same with our Acetum. For when, by the power of 
the water, the composition is dissolved, it is the key of 
the restoration ; then darkness and death fly away 
from them, and Wisdom proceeds onwards to the ful- 
filment of her Law.^ 

^ The principles of the art of working the matter are here re- 
peated. The two contrary natures of light and darkness must 
contend together, as it were, in mortal strife, and the war must be 
waged unceasingly for the destruction of the foreign life until it 
succumbs, grows Avhite, as Hermes says, in order that the internal 
agent may return to vivify the whole, and yield the abundant 
tincture of its light. 

2 The catholic nature is multifarious in its conception, and 
passes in the art through a strange variety of forms and ap- 
pearances ; but she operates her proper progress neeessitously 
under the threefold law of life ; the ingress, egress, and alternat- 
ing action of which, under dominance of either of its principles, 
constitutes the whole phenomena of the Hermetic process. 

^ Grreat is the reputed virtue of this Aqua Philosophica, which 
distils itself finally to manifestation by the Art of Life ; for, as com- 
mon water washes and cleanses things outwardly, so this inwardly 
effects the same, even itself pm-ifying itself from its inbred 
defilements, so that no vestige of evil remains. And, being con- 
joined in consciousness with the central Efficient, it becomes 

I 2 

116 Exoteric View 


Know, my son, that the philosophers bind up their 
Matter with a strong chain, that it may contend with 
the Fire ; because the spirits in the washed bodies 
desire to dwell therein and to rejoice. In these habi- 
tations they vivify themselves and inhabit there, and 
the bodies hold them, nor can they be thereafter sepa- 
rated any more.^ 

The dead elements are revived, the composed .odies 
tinge and are altered, and by a wonderful process they 
are made permanent, as saith the philosopher.'^ 

aU powerful, and the key of every magic art. The preparation of 
it is not known to many, says the Scholiast, and a very few have 
obtained it ; because the well is deep out of which it is drawn ; 
nor do the vulgar chemists understand it. Nor can this secret be 
truly learned either from a master at all, but practice reveals it 
by the instinct of nature. See the Scholium and Lumen de 
Lumine, p. 67. 

^ This may again remind the reader of the passage from De- 
mocritus, where, describing the universal experiment, he says that 
that method of working with .nature is the most effectual which 
makes use of manacles and fetters, laying hold on her in the 
extremest degree. And this constriction, according to the scho- 
liast's teaching, is not made by chance, but by means of the 
affinity wliich is between the body and its spirit, as Mayer also 
alludes, in his Emblems — Naturam uatura docet debellet ut ignem ; 
for they both proceed from one fountain, though, of the two, 
the agent, because it vivifies and holds the particles of the matter 
together, is representatively superior in operation, to compel 
the Protean Hypostasis of Nature to enter into his true Form. 

Nam sine vi non ulla dabit prsecepta, neque ilium 

Orando flectes : vim duram et vincula capto 

Tende. Doli circum hsec demum frangentur inanes. 

See the Gcorgics, lib. iv. 397 ; Maieri Atalanta Fugiens Em- 
blema, xx. ; Democritus, in the Fable of Proteus ; Aquarium 
Sapientiim Enigma ; and the Scholiast on Hermes. 

- The bodies ot the metals, explains our Scholiast, are the 
domicils of their spirits, which when they are received by the 
bodies, their terrestrial substance is by degrees made thin, ex- 
tended, and purified, and by their vivifying power, the life and fire 
hitherto lying dormant is excited and made to appear. For the 
life which dioeUs in the metals is laid, as it were, asleep (in sense), 
nor can it exert its powers, or show itself, unless the bodies (?. e. 

The Golden Treatise. 117 

O permanent watery Form, creatrix of the royal 
elements! who, having with thy brethren and a just 
government obtained the tinctm'e, findest rest.^ 

Our most precious stone is cast forth upon the 
dunghill, and that which is most worthy is made vilest 
of the vile. Therefore it behoves us to mortify two 
Argent vives together, both to venerate and to be vene- 
rated, viz., the Argent vive of Auripigment, and the 
oriental Argent vive of Magnesia.^ 

the sensible and vegetable media of life) be first dissolved 
and turned into their radical source ; being brought to this 
degree, at length, by the abundance of their internal light, they 
communicate their tinging property to other imperfect bodies, 
transmuting them into a fixed and permanent substance. And 
this, he adds further, is the property of our medicine, into which 
the previous bodies (of the spirit) are reduced ; that, at first, 
one part thereof will tinge ten parts of an imperfect body, then 
one hundred, tlien a thousand, and so infinitely on. By which the 
efficacy of the creative word is wonderfully evidenced, Crescite et 
multiplicamini. And by how much the oftener the medicine 
is dissolved, by so much the more it increases in virtue, which 
otherwise, without any more solution, would remain in its single 
or simple state of perfection. Here there is a celestial and divine 
fountain set open, which no man is able to draw dry, nor can it be 
exhausted should the world endure through an eternity of genera- 
tions. — See the Scholium ; Introit. Apert. cap. viii. ; Trevisanus 
Opusculum circa finem. 

' The fixed watery Form of the philosophic matter, which 
Hermes here apostrophises, is the same as was before celebrated, 
only more mature ; this is the fountain which Bernhard Trevisan 
mentions, of such marvellous vii'tue above all other fountains in 
the whole world, shining like silver and of caerulean clearness. 
It is the Framer of the I'oyal elements, says Hermes, i. e. it draws 
to itself the rubified light of its internal agent permeating the 
same tliroughout the whole essentiality. Separate, says Eiieneus, 
the light from the darkness seven times, and the creation of the 
philosophic Mercury will be complete, and this seventh day will be 
for thee a sabbath of repose ; from which period, until the end of 
the annual revolution, thou mayest expect the generation of the 
svipernatural son of Sun, who comes about the last age into the 
world to purify his brethren from their original sin. — See the 
Scholium ; Trevisanus, end of his Opusculum ; Now Light of Sendi- 
vogius, 10th Treatise ; and the Introit. Apert. cap. iii. &c. 

2 The same catholic nature, which in its preternatural exaltation 
appears so very precious in the eyes of the philosopher, is in the 
common world defiled ; abiding everywhere in putrefactions and 
the vilest forms of life. It is likewise despised by mankind, who 

1 18 Exoteric View. 

O Nature, the most potent creatrix of nature, which 
containest and separatest natures in a middle princi- 
ple! The Stone comes with light, and with light it is 
generated, and then it generates and brings forth the 
black clouds or darkness, which is the mother of all 

are, for the luost part, uncouseious even of its subsistence, mucli 
more are they not ignorant of the method of exculpating it and 
handling their life to good effect ? Hermes, indeed, gives instruc- 
tion, as did Moses also, but under a veil, which it may be hardly 
expedient to look through at this stage of our investigation. 

^ AVe have signified from the testimony of the adepts already, 
though without particularizing, that liglit or sulphur, as they call 
it, is the true form or seed of gold, and the concentering vii-tue 
of their philosophic stone. Thus far, then, the theory of the Her- 
metic process may be supposed to run by the analogy of nature ; 
grain, being cast into the common earth, grows and fructifies and 
brings forth its increase, and this eduction is in its middle princi- 
ple, that is to say, in the specificative form by which it is intrinsi- 
cally generated and made to be that particular kind of grain and 
no other. Tlius, the aurific seed, if truly such can be found to be 
the specific seed of gold, needs only to be planted in its proper 
etherial vehicle, well prepared and fallow to bring forth its vii'tiie 
in manifold increase. 

Ruricolae pingui mandant sua semina terra?, 

Cum fuerit rostris ha'C foliata suis. 
Pliilosophi niveos aurum docuere per agros 

Spargere, qui folii se levis instar habeut : 
Hoc ut agas, illud bene respice, namque quod aurum 

Germinet, ex tritico videris, ut speculo. 

But tlie Alchemical art has been continually compared to agi'icul- 
ture ; and the analogy, indeed, appears to bear throughout so inti- 
mately as to suggest and, almost without deviation, point out the 
method of its application. The body is gold, says the author of 
the jS^ew Light, which yields seed, our lune or silver, not common 
silver, is that whicli receives the seed of the gold, afterwards it is 
governed by our continual fire for seven months (philosophical), 
and sometimes ten, until our water consume three and leave one ; 
and that in duplo or a double. Then it is nourished with the 
milk of the earth, or the fatness thereof, which is bred in the bowels 
of the earth and is governed and preserved from putrefaction by 
the salt of nature: and tlius the infant of the second generation 
is produced ; and when the seed of tliat which is now brought 
forth is put again into its own matrix, it purifies it, and makes it 
a thousand times more fit and apt to bring forth the best and 
most excellent fruits. But, before the metallic light is brought to 

The Golden Treatise. 119 

But when we marry the crowned king to our red 
daughter, and in a gentle fire, not hurtful, she doth 
conceive an excellent and supernatural son, which per- 
manent life she doth also feed with a subtle heat, so 
that he lives at length in our fire.^ 

But when thou shalt send forth thy fire upon the 
foliated sulphur, the boundary of hearts doth enter in 
above it, is washed in the same, and the purified mat- 
ter thereof is extracted. Then is he transformed, and 
his tincture by help of the fire remains red, as it were 
flesh. But our son, the king begotten, takes his tinc- 
ture from the fire, and death even and darkness, and 
the waters flee away.^ 

this ultimate perfection, it must many times, therefore, suffer itself 
to be eclipsed, and die and corrupt, as the adepts teach, accord- 
ing to the similitude of nature ; yet, Avitli this difference, that 
whereas the produce of common husbandry exhausts and deterior- 
ates rapidly the earth whence it springs, and is always terminated 
in its kind witliout progression, the etherial seed, on the other 
hand, tends always to improve its generation, fertilizing by the 
return of each successive growth, and enriching its maternal soil ; 
and this process, according to Hermes, is repeated seven times be- 
fore the final resurrection of the Quintessence into a permanent 
form of life. — See the Scholium ; Maieri Atalanta Fugiens ^Epi- 
gramma vi. ; Sendivogius, New Light, Treatise 9 and 10. 

1 The new-born Quintessences are here shown to be reunited for 
fructification and to be further promoted, and, as the fable relates 
of Isis, that she brought forth Horus, even feeding him with fire ; 
so it happens in the Hermetic work. And this is wonderful, ob- 
serves the Scholiast, that the parents, who were before the nurses 
and feeders again by the law of the same spirit, are to be nursed 
and fed. It is nourished with a gentle heat, not in the vulgar 
way of decocting, but conformable to the heavenly fire. But 
when we say, adds the adept, that our stone generated by fire, 
men neither see nor do they believe there is any other fire but 
the conmion fire, nor any other sulphur or mercury — thus they are 
deceived by their own opinions, saying that we are the cause of 
their errors ; but it is not so. The philosophers uniformly distin- 
guish their own especial fire as magical, creative, vital ; whereas 
the common element is without sagacity or discrimination. Our 
fire is a most subtle fire, inhabiting in himself an infernal secret 
fire, and in its kind extremely volatile. Some call it the miracle 
of the world, the nucleus of the superior and inferior forces of na- 
ture, &c. — See the Scholium, Lumen de Lumine, p. 58. 

" O happy gate of blackness, cries the sage, which art the 
passage to this so glorious a change ! Study, therefore, whoso- 

120 Exoteric View. 

The Dragon shuns the sunbeams which dart through 
the crevices, and our dead son lives ; the king comes 
forth from the fire and rejoices with his spouse ; the 
occult treasures are laid open and the virgin's milk is 
whitened. The son, already vivified, is become a 
w^arrior in the fire, and of tincture superexcellent. For 
this son is himself the treasury, even himself bearing 
the Philosophic Matter.^ 

Approach, ye sons of Wisdom, and rejoice : let us 
now rejoice together ; for the reign of death is finish- 
ed and the son doth rule, and now he is invested with 
the red garment, and the scarlet colour is put on.^ 

ever appliest thyself to this Art, only to know this secret, for to 
know this is to know all, but to be ignorant of this is to be igno- 
rant of all. For putrefaction precedes the generation of every 
new form into existence. It is the business of the philosophic 
tire not onl}' to \dvify, but also to depurate and segregate the he- 
terogeneity of its vehiculum, which being done there appears at 
length in the fa'ces, a most pure and rubicund tincture of the 
colour of flesh and blood. And as flesh is nothing but blood coa- 
gulated, abounding with a fidl and vigorous spirit, so, adds the 
adept, likewise our tincture is of blood coagulated, which blood 
is the boundary or satisfaction of hearts, as Hermes alludes, the 
object sought for, and which satisfies when attained. — See Scho- 
lium, and Eipley Eevived, 5th Gate. 

' The nature and origin of this Dragon was before discussed, 
which becomes occultated in the rising of the internal light to 

Si fixum solvas faciasque volare solutum, 
Et volucrem figas, facient te vivere tutum 
Solve, Coagula, Fige. 

O Nature, cries the experimental adeptist, how dost thou inter- 
change thy being, casting down the high and mighty and again 
exalting that which was base and lowly ! O death, how art thou 
vanquished, when thy prisoners are taken from thee and carried 
into an estate and place of immortality ! The son, says Hermes, 
has gotten the Tincture, for is he not in truth the whole quintes- 
sential nature concentrated, as it wex-e personified, bearing in hand 
the golden light of life to perpetualise it universally. — See the 
Philosophical Epitaph of W. C. title page, and Eipley Eevived. 

'^ The internal light, once made manifest to sense, so far is 
ready for the perscrutiuation of another life into which it must be 
induced to enter, to sutler again, and die in order to transmute 
the foul material into itself. Hermes proceeds, in the next chap- 
ter, to describe the work, which, in principle, differs nothing from 

The Golden Treatise. 121 

section fourth. 

Understand then, O son of Wisdom, what the Stone 
declares : Protect me, and I will protect thee ; increase 
my strength, that I may help thee.^ 

My Sol and my beams are most inward and secretly 
in me. My own Luna, also, is my hght, exceeding every 
light ; and my good things are better than all other 
good things ; I give freely and reward the intelligent 
with joy and gladness, glory, riches, and delights ; and 
them that seek after me I make to know and under- 
stand and to possess divine things.^ 

Behold, that which the philosophers have concealed 
is written with seven letters : for Alpha and Yda fol- 
low two ; and Sol, in like manner, follows the book : 
nevertheless, if thou art willing that he should have 
dominion, observe the Art, and join the son to the 
daughter of the water, which is Jupiter and a hidden 

the foregoing but in the images and delineation of phenomena 

^ The fermenting light by constant addition of the spirit, 
leavens more and more, increasing as it tends to the perception of 
its final cause in life. As Solomon, speaking of the Divine Wisdom, 
says, Exalt her, and she shall promote thee, she shall bring thee 
to honour when thou dost embrace her, &c. Proverbs iv. 8, 9. 

2 The vital light, as we have before explained, is centrally 
hidden in nature until it is drawn forth ; but re-entering from 
without inwards, when freed agam, will it not then probably meet 
itself in a yet more profoimd experience ? This is the problem 
proposed for the truly intelligent, that they may inquire into the 
Hermetic method of Self- Knowledge, which alone can enable man 
to know and understand and possess divine things. — If thou 
seekest for her as silver, and seai'chest for wisdom as for hidden 
treasures ; then shalt tliou understand the fear of the Lord and 
find the knowledge of God. Proverbs ii. 4, 5. But we post- 
pone the examination of this mystical ground, suggesting so much 
only as, in proceeding, we find requisite to elucidate the Hermetic 

^ The seven letters are taken to signify the necessary phases 
through which the philosophic material passes in order of colour 
and qualitative virtiie ; some call them planets, others metals, (for 
the radical life of the spirit is indeed mineral) ; and the rest of 
Hermes' allusion is to the conjunction of active and passive prin- 
ciples for the reproduction of light out of the whole. 

122 Exoteric View. 

Auditor, understand : let us use our Reason ; consider 
all with the most accurate investigation, which in the 
contemplative part I have demonstrated to thee ; the 
whole matter I know to be one only thing. But who 
is he that understands the true investigation and in- 
quires rationally into this matter? It is not from man, 
nor from anything like him or akin to him ; nor from 
the ox or bullock : and if any creature conjoins with 
one of another species, that w^hich is brought forth is 
neutral from either.^ 

Thus saith Venus : I beget light, nor is the dark- 
ness of my nature ; and if my metal be not dried all 
bodies desire me, for I liquify them and wipe away 
their rust, even I extract their substance. Nothing, 
therefore, is better or more venerable than I, my bro- 
ther also being conjoined.'^ 

But the king, the ruler, to his brethren, testifying 
of him, saith : I am crowned, and I am adorned with 

^ The profound significance of the first monition to use our reason 
may be better appreciated on inquiry ; for Hermes lias cliosen to 
conceal the philosophic vessel, and here condescends, in part, even 
to an equivocation ; but we pass on. I say to you, writes Maria, 
laconically, that this science may be found in all bodies ; but 
philosophers have thought fit to say little of it, because of the 
shortness of life and the length of this art. They found it most 
easily in that matter which most evidently contains the four 
philosophic elements. It is prepared in the innermost chamber 
of life, says the wise Scholiast, and tliere it is coagulated ; and 
where metals grow, there they may be found. — See Maria Practica, 
and the Scholium. 

2 All here is to be understood etheriaUy, according to the prin- 
ciples before laid down. Yenus personifies the central light of 
nature, which is occultated in her generations, and in metalline 
bodies is more especially bound on account of their terrestreity, 
and therefore they gladly adhere to this moist spirit, that it may 
vivify them. And when she appears, writes a no less experienced 
adept, the artist is rejoiced, and thii\ks perhaps his work is 
finislied, and that he has the treasure of the world in hand ; but 
it is not so : for if he tries it, the light still will be found imper- 
fect, alone, and transient, without the masculine tincture to fix it 
in manifestation. Hence the fable of Mars and A'enus taken 
together by Vulcan, as will be hereafter explained, in the last 
extremity of life. — See the Scholium ; Freher's Analogy ; and 
Democritus, in Mammelli Summula. 

The Golden Treatise. 123 

a royal diadem ; I am clothed with the royal garment, 
and I bring joy and gladness of heart ; for, being chain- 
ed, I caused my substance to lay hold of, and to rest 
within the arms and breast of my mother, and to fasten 
upon her substance ; making that which was invisible 
to become visible, and the occult matter to appear. 
And everything which the philosopers have hidden is 
generated by us.^ 

Hear then these words, and understand them ; keep 
them, and meditate thereon; and seek for nothing more: 
Man, in the beginning, is generated of nature, whose in- 
ward substance is fleshy, and not from anything else. 
Meditate on these plain things, and reject what is su- 

Thus saith the philosopher : Botri is made from the 
Citrine, which is extracted out of the Red Root, and from 
nothing else ; and if it be citrine and nothing else. Wis- 
dom was with thee ; it was not gotten by thy care, nor, 
if it be freed from redness, by thy study. Behold I 
have circumscribed nothing ; if thou hast understand- 
ing, there be but few things unopened.^ 

^ By the king, the Eational Efficient is signified ; by the brethren, 
the inferior degrees of illumination in the spirit, which are finally 
gathered up into accord with their first source. This same reason, 
being artificially constrained, lest it should escape the fiery 
ordeal, retui'ns, fastening, as Hermes says, i;pon the wheel of its 
proper life, as it were, introverting the natural channel and order 
of generation, whereby a door is marvellously opened into the 
most intunate recess of life. — See the Scholium ; Introitus A- 
pertus, cap. viii. 

- "With what force and earnestness does the master here speak, 
as if the whole ground of the mystery lay in these words. And 
truly not in vain, observes the Scholiast, does he bid to understand 
them, and meditate upon them, and to inquire after nothmg else. 
Man, it is said, was created of the dust of the earth : that is, in- 
terprets the adept, of the arising quintessence of the miiversal 
nature ; but the understanding has never reached us, who, without 
self-investigation, are nnable to perceive the reality of those 
things which are spoken out of an experimental knowledge of Life. 

3 By the term Botri is here signified the Philosopher's Stone. 
The red root is the Terra Adamica, called sometimes Magnesia by 
the wise, and Salt after the purification. It is not gotten by art, 
but of nature spontaneously, when the conditions are supplied 
and a pure receptacle to give it evidence. 

124 Exoteric View. 

Ye sons of Wisdom ! burn then the Brazen Body with 
an exceeding great tire ; and it will yield gratefully 
what you desire. And see that you make that which 
is volatile so that it cannot fly, and by means of that 
which flies not. And that which yet rests upon the 
Are, as it were itself a fiery flame, and that which in 
the heat of a boiling fire is corrupted is Cambar.^ 

And know ye that the Art of this permanent water 
is our brass, and the colouring of its tincture and black- 
ness is then changed into the true red.^ 

I declare that, by the help of God, I have spoken 
nothing but the truth. That which is destroyed is 
renovated, and hence the corruption is made manifest 
in the matter to be renewed ; and hence the meliora- 
tion will appear, and on either side it is a signal of Art. -^ 

• The self-willed hypostasis of nature must die, as we before 
explaiued, in order to evolve her universal being ; and this also 
must sufter and die necessarily in order to multiply the perfection 
of its first form. Thus, in his own operative language, as it were 
pyrographically, does Democritus exemplify the Hermetic pro- 
cess at tliis juncture, when the innate evU being made manil'est, 
the will proceeds to operate its proper solution in life. — Drawing 
the Fixed Brass out bodily, writes our Abderite, thou shalt compose 
a certain oblong tongue, and placing it again upon the coals, stir 
A^ulcau into it : now irradiating with the Fossil Salt, now -nith 
the incessant Attic Ochre, adorning now the shoulder and the 
breast of Paphia, till she shall appear more manifestly beautiful, 
and throwing the glaucus veil aside, she shall appear entirely 
golden. Perchance, it was when Paris gazed on such a Venus, he 
did prefer her both to Juno and Minerva. — But when the artist seeth, 
adds a more modern experimentalist, the masculine tincture rise 
from death, and come forth out of the black darkness together in 
union with the white virginal spirit, he will then know that he 
hath the great arcanum of the world, and such a treasure as is 
inestimable. — See the Scholium ; Democritus in Flammelli Sum- 
raula ; and Freher's Analogy. 

2 By a conjunction with its o\vn permanent prepared spirit, 
the albified water is made red. Adonis ab apro occiditur, cui 
Yenus occurrens tinxit rosas sanguine. — See the Scholium ; Ata- 
lanta Fugiens, Eiub. xli. 

2 Thus, even as the Hermetic material is one the art is one ; 
and the stone is also one mineral spirit, exalted by fermentation 
intrinsically in its proper kind ; and as leaven makes leaven, and 
every ferment begets its own exaltation ; as vinegar makes vinegar, 
says the Scholiast, so this art beginning in our Mercury, likewise 
finishes in the same. It is a kind of Proteus, indeed, which. 

The Golden Treatise. 125 


My son, that which is born of the crow is the begin- 
ning of this Art. Behold, how I have obscured the 
matter treated of, by circumlocution, depriving thee of 
the hght. Yet this dissolved, this joined, this nearest 
and furthest off, I have named to thee.^ 

Roast those things, therefore, and boil them in that 
which comes forth from the horse's belly for seven, 
fourteen, or twenty-one days. Then will the Dragon 
eat his own wings and destroy himself; this being- 
done, let it be put in a fiery furnace, which lute dili- 
gently, and observe that none of the spirit may escape. 
And know that the periods of the earth are in the 
water, which let be as long as until thou puttest the 
same upon it.^ 

The matter being thus melted and burned, take the 
brain thereof and triturate it in most sharp vinegar 
till it become obscured. This done, it lives in the pu- 
trefaction ; let the dark clouds which w^ere in it before 
it was killed be converted into its own body. Let this 

creeping upon earth, assumes the natiffe ^f a serpent, but be- 
ing emersed in water, it represents itself as a fish ; and presently 
being in air, and taking to i^elf wings, it flies as a bird ; yet is, 
notwithstanding, One throughout the multiformity of nature. 
With this the artist works, and with it he transacts all the neces- 
sary operations of our Stone. 

' The philosophic work is not considered to begin until after 
the dissolution ; the preliminary preparation of the matter being 
very generally termed the gross work. The manner of obscuring 
the truth, by repetitions and circumlocutions, has been every- 
where adopted by the Alchemists ; the nature of the process gives 
room for this, and our author set an example, imitating the 
devious instinct of the spirit in his illustrations. 

2 The process of the dissolution is here gone over again, with 
certain practical instructions, which the Scholiast explains under 
another veil. The matter, he says, is to be decocted in the philo- 
sophic furnace called Athanor, with a continual fire. And the 
vessel which holds the matter must be exactly sealed, lest the 
penetrative mineral vapour should expire and leave the dead body. 
And this may be done with the lutum Sapientise, or Hermetic 
seal, about which he gives particular instructions, and how the 
orifices and junctures of the philosophic vessel must be encircled, 
so that no breath may go forth. 

126 Exoteric View. 

process be repeated, as I have described ; let it again die, 
as I before said, and then it lives. ^ 

In the life and death thereof we work with the 
spirits ; for as it dies by the taking away of the spirit, 
so it lives in the return and is revived and rejoices 
therein. Being arrived then at this knowledge, that 
which thou hast been searching for is made apparent 
in the Affirmation. I have even related to thee the 
joyful signs, even that which doth fix the body. 

But these things, and how they attained to the 
knowledge of this secret, are given by our ancestors in 
figures and types : behold they are dead ; I have open- 
ed the riddle, and the book of knowledge is revealed ; 
the hidden things I have uncovered and have brought 
together the scattered truths within their boundary, 
and have conjoined many various forms, even I have 
associated the Spirit. Take it as the gift of God.^ 


It behoves thee to give thanks to God, who has be- 
stowed liberally of his bounty to the wise; who delivers 
us from misery and poverty. I am tempted and 
proven with the fulness of his substance and his proba- 
ble wonders, and humbly pray God that whilst we live 
we may come to him.^ 

^ The cerebral, or superior life of the Spirit, is obscured during 
the purification, and for the revealment of its true mineral radix or 

2 In a scientific association of the Spirit the Hermetic Art has 
been said summarily to consist — 

Ut ventus qui flat est ille qui dat. — Qui capit ille sapit. 

^ He who shall have received so much grace from the Father 
of Lights, as to obtain in this life the inestimable gift of the phi- 
losopher's stone ; M"ho carries about with him, as the Scholiast ex- 
presses it, even in his own breast, the treasury of universal na- 
ture ; has need not only to be grateful but to be watchful of every 
temptation, lest he should be drawn, even unwittingly, to abuse 
it; for ho is then proven indeed, and taught how, in the midst of 
so much abundance of power, wealth, and happiness, he should 
humble himself and sink away from every appetite of self love in- 
to the single adoration of the divine goodness ; for in this lium- 

The Golden Treatise. 127 

Remove thence, O sons of science, the unguents 
which we extract from fats, hair, vercligrease, traga- 
canth, and bones, which are written in the books of 
our fathers.' 

But concerning the ointments which contain the tinc- 
ture, coagulate the fugitive and adorn the sulphurs, it 
behoves us to explain their disposition more at large ; 
and to unveil the Form, which is buried and hidden, 
from other unguents ; which is seen in disposition but 
dwells in his own body, as fire in trees and stones, 
which by the most subtle art and ingenuity it behoves 
to extract without burning.^ 

And know that the Heaven is to be joined mediately 
with the Earth ; but the Form is in a middle nature 
between the heaven and earth, wdiich is our water. But 
the water holds of all the first place which goes forth 
from this Stone ; but the second is gold ; but the third 
is gold, only in a mean which is more noble than the 
water and the fseces.^ 

ble state, Grod only is to be met with, as the law of reason proves 
in its ordinary development, mucli more so in the awakening of 
its objective light. 

1 The fixed sulphur of adepts, according to our Scholiast, is the 
true balsam of nature, which the dead bodies of the metals imbibe, 
and are as it were throughly moistened with, to preserve them per- 
petually from distemper and rust. The more anything abounds 
with this balsam, the longer it lives and is preserved from perish- 
ing. From things, therefore, abounding with a balsam of this 
kind, the universal medicine is concreted, which is most effectual 
to preserve human bodies in a state of health, and to root out 
diseases, whether accidental or hei'editary, by propagation, re- 
storing the sick to health and integrity.- — See the Scholium and 
Lucerna Salis towards the end. 

2 Here again we are reminded of the simplicity of the matter 
worked with, and its formal light. But if, in the natural world, the 
spirit is invested with multitudinous and various forms externally 
introduced, it behoves the artist to extract these, therefore, and 
to dissolve without destroying the continental life. 

2 The two invisible poles of the Spirit are here especially sig- 
nalised by Hermes, and that consummate medium which brings 
them forth into manifestation. The water alluded to is the 
mercurial quintessence, as it is first born in a humid and vaprous 
consistency ; which being successively informed by the central 
light becomes golden and aurific, comuninicating its tincture ; 

128 ExoTERK View. 

But in these are the smoke, the hlackness, and the 
death. It behoves us, therefore, to dry away the vapour 
from the water, to expel the blackness from the un- 
guent, and death from the fyeces, and this by dissolu- 
tion. By which means w^e attain to the highest philo- 
sophy and secret of all hidden things.^ 


Know ye then, O sons of Science, there are seven 
bodies — of which gold is the first, the most perfect, 
the king of them, and their head — which neither the 
earth can corinipt nor fire devastate, nor the water 
change ; for its complexion is equalised, and its nature 
regulated with respect to heat, cold, and moisture; 
nor is there anything in it which is superfluous, there- 
fore the philosophers do buoy up and magnify them- 
selves in it, saying that this gold, in relation of other 
bodies, is as the sun amongst the stars, more splendid 
in light ; and as, by the power of God, every vegetable 
and all the fi'uits of the earth are perfected, so gold 
by the same power sustaineth all.^ 

and as fire by means of fuel increases continually, and a small 
seed drawing strength and sustenance from the earth and air 
grows to be a large and prolific tree ; so this wonderful being, es- 
sentialised in its proper vehicle or understanding substance, is 
said to increase, transmuting the catholic nature into itself. 
Our gold is not common gold, says the adept, but a depurated 
substance, in the highest degree perfected and brought to an 
astral or heavenly complexion. This is the Elixir, Ixir, or true 
Ferment tinging and fixing, and without which bodies cannot be 
made pure.— See the Scholium, Lucerna Sabs, &c. 

' By an artificial dissolution of the vital bond, by means of Al- 
chemy, the Causal principle of nature is said to be developed into 
reminiscence and to arise in the experience of the recreated life. 
Modern philosophy is far removed from such investigation, nor is 
it easy, perhaps, without habitual study, to conceive the possibility 
of an experiment that would lead ijito such a science of nature 
as the ancients propose. 

'^ The gold of the philosophers, or living gold, as they some- 
times call their luminous concrete, is here alluded to throughout ; 
for though the dead metal also is eminently endued above other 
metals with the colour of its formative virtue, yet this does 
not fructify, being imprisoned, or meliorate anything beyond 

The Golden Treatise. 129 

For as dough, without a I'ernient, cannot be fer- 
mented, so when thou subhmest the body and puri- 
fiest it, separating the uncleanness from it, thou wilt 
then conjoin and mix them together, and put in the 
ferment confecting the earth and water. Then will 
the Ixir ferment even as dough doth ferment. Think 
of this, and see how the ferment in this case doth 
change the former natures to another thing : observe, 
also, that there is no ferment otherwise than from the 
dough itself.^ 

Observe, moreover, that the ferment w^hitens the 
confection and hinders it from burning, and holds the 
tincture lest it should fly, and rejoices the bodies, and 
makes them intimately to join and to enter one into 
another, and this is the Key of the philosophers and 
the end of their w ork ; and by this science bodies are 
meliorated and the operation of them, God assist- 
ing, is consummate.^ 

itself. But as the solar luminary is the luediuiu that perfects all 
sublunary nature, subliming by his beams of light and heat, so 
does our soul of gold, writes the Scholiast, which is the true au- 
rific principle, even as a medium, perfect all the other seven bodies ; 
i. e. to signify here, according to Hermes, the inferior spheres of 
vitality in which it moves For though the virtues of the philoso- 
pher's gold ai'e manifold, when applied to external nature, restor- 
ing her energies, and converting her circumferential manifestations 
into their central whole conditionedly, yet these things are not so 
much denoted in the paragraph which refers to the spontaneous 
operations of the divine Law in life. 

^ This is a very favourite analogy with the alchemists, and emi- 
nently suggestive ; Hermes, therefore, advises us to meditate here, 
that we may imbibe the principle of perfecting in our under- 
standing and observe that except the paste of flour be leavened, 
or any liquor receive the ferment of its own advanced virtue, it 
will not be exalted ; but die and corrupt in the inferior elements of 
its nature. See the Scholium and Basil A^alentine's Chariot of 
Antimony throughout, and the Stone of Fire. 

^ In saying that the ferment whitens the confection, our 
author may be thought to contradict what has been before stated ; 
but he only confounds the order of his instruction, retrograding 
at the latter end, for the fermentive light is indeed white before 
the multiplication of its internal form has rubified it, and the 
silvery spirit is made manifest before the solar ray. Take the 
white, clear, and dignified herb, says Maria, which grows upon 
the little mountain?, grind it fresh when it is arrived at its de- 


130 Exoteric View. 

But, through negligence and a false opinion of the 
matter, the operation may be perverted, as a mass of 
leaven growing corrupt, or milk turned with rennet 
for cheese, and musk among aromatics.' 

The sure colour of the golden matter for the red, 
and the nature thereof, is not sweetness ; therefore we 
make of them Sericum, i. e. Ixir ; and of them we 
make the enamel of which we have already w^ritten, 
and with the king's seal we have tinged the clay, and 
in that have set the colour of heaven which augments 
the sight of them that see.- 

termined hour, for iii it is the genuine body which evaporates 
not, neither does it at all flee from the fire. But, after this, it is 
necessary to rectify Kibric and Zibeth (the soid and spirit) 
upon this body ; i. e. the two fumes which comprise and embrace 
each other in the two luminaries, and to put them upon that 
which softens them, which is the accomplishment of the tinctures 
and spirits, the true weights of the wise : then, having ground the 
whole, put it to the fire : admirable things will then be seen. 
There is nothing fiu'ther required but to maintain a moderate 
fiLre ; after which it is wonderful to see how, in less than an horn*, 
the composition will pass from one colour to another, till it comes 
to the perfect red or white : -when it does, then abate the fire and 
open the vessel, and when it is cold, there will appear in it a body 
clear, shining like a pearl or the colour of Mild poppy mingled with 
white. It is then incerating, melting, penetrative, and one weight 
of this body cast upon twelve thousand of the imperfect metal, 
will convert it into gold. Behold, the concealed secret and these 
two fumes are the root of the Hermetic science ; which, being of 
one root, are separated, dissolved, and re-united so often until 
their fermentive virtue survives the utmost efforts of art or nature 
any more to decompose. — See the Scholium and Maria Practica, 
and Freher's Analogy, end. 

1 An unskilful artist may doubtless make errors in this art as 
in any other, either in chemistry or in housewifery, without 
understanding the proper method and matter of fermentation. 
The remark of the mastei', therefore, needs not further illustrating. 

2 The apparition of the new light to the outward qualifications 
of the spirit is not welcome or sweet at first, but causes a terrifi- 
cation of the whole circumferential life. The wrathfidness is 
mightily exasperated by this appearance of love, says the theoso- 
phist, and presseth violently to swallow it up in death ; which 
actually it doth : but perceiving that no death can be therein, the 
love sinketh only down, yielding up itself unto those murderous 
properties for awhile and displaying among them its own loving 
essentiality. Thus is found, at last, a poison to death and a pesti- 

The Golden Treatise. 131 

The Stone, therefore, is the most precious gold with- 
out spots — evenly tempered, which neither fire, nor air, 
nor water, nor earth is able to corrupt ; for it is the 
Universal Ferment rectifying all things in a medium 
composition, whose complexion is yellow^ and a true 
citrine colour.' 

The gold of the wise, boiled and well digested with 
a fiery water, makes Ixir ; for the gold of the wise is 
more heavy than lead, which in a temperate composi- 
tion is the ferment Ixir, and contrariwise, in our in- 
temperate composition, is the confusion of the whole. 

leuce to liell ; for the wrathful properties are terrified at this 
entering of love into them, which is coutran^ to their quality, and 
renders them weak and impotent, so that they lose at length their 
own will, strength, and predominance. See Freher's Analogy at 
the end. By the King's seal, Hermes signifies the gnsat Law of 
Light or universal reason, which is finally impressed upon the 
regenerated vitality of nature. 

^ This most precious Stone, are we at length to conclude then, 
is Light essentialised artificially in its proper substance, and exalted 
by fermentation into an immutable magnet, able to draw and to 
convert the radical homogeneity of natiu-e into its own assimilative 
accord ? Yet this is an ultimate promise only, and the reward of 
ardent and continual toil; the art offers many intermediate benefits 
by the way, alluring health, science and riches, of her mineral 
stores. Our stone, says the adept, drives away and cures all 
sorts of maladies whatever, and preserves any one in good health 
to the last term of his life : it tinges and can change all metals 
into silver and gold, even better than those which nature is accus- 
tomed to produce ; and, by its means, crystals maybe transformed 
into precious gems. But, if the intention be to change metals 
into gold, it is requisite they shovild be first fermented wdth the 
most pui'e gold; for otherwise the imperfect metals would not be 
able to support its too great and supreme subtility ; but there 
wovild ensue loss and damage in the projection. The imperfect 
metals, also, ought to be purified, if any one will draw profit there- 
from. One drachm of gold is sufficient for the fermentation in 
the Eed, and one of silver for the fermentation in the A\Tiite ; and 
the artist need not be at the trouble of buying gold and silver for 
this fermentation, because, with one single very small part, the 
tincture may be afterwards augmented more and more ; for if 
this medicine be multiplied and be again dissolved and coagulated 
by the water of its mercury, white or red, of which it was pre- 
pared, then the tinging virtue will be augmented each time by 
ten degrees perfection which may be reiterated at will. — See Lu- 
cerna Salis, Kiijjiurath Amphitheat. circa finem. 
\ K 2 


132 Exoteric View. 

For the work begins from the vegetable, next from 
the animal, as in a hen's egg, in which is the greatest 
help ; and our earth is gold, of all which we make 
seriacum, which is the ferment Ixir.^ 

^ The seven chapters of the Golden Treatise are here concluded ; 
which are a fair example of the Alchemical writings in general, 
and less sophistical than many, which may be considei-ed perhaps 
as a small recommendation of the rest. For, although the dis- 
course is sententious, and analogies are dispersed throughout with 
philosophic tact and plausibility, yet the whole is covered with an 
obnoxious veil; for neither does Hermes discover the true Art,either 
whence, when, or how the Matter is to be taken ; but the philo- 
sophic vessel, with the whole apparatus for working the Spirit to 
perfection, is wrapped up under an ambiguous disguise. It is im- 
possible almost to convey an adequate idea of the extent to which 
the mystification has been carried: the literature of Alchemy 
has not its parallel in the entire range, but is the problem of 
contradictions by excellence, as it were, framed after the pattern 
of the cruel Sphinx herself ; so that the very abundant evidence 
which, under other circumstances, would be advantageous, be- 
comes burdensome in this inquiry, occasioning a difficulty of dis- 
cretion where to believe and vindicate the true light. In these 
easy reading days, too, when the fruits of science are laid open 
and books are made suitable for the instruction of the " meanest 
capacities," few are disposed to study for anything — even the most 
lucrative gain — still fewer wiU there be found of a mind ready 
to exert itself about the traditionary report of bygone wisdom. 
"We had not ourselves, thus singly without modern precedent, 
ventured within the confines of this magic wild, but for the theo- 
retic promise of possibility held out ; having observed also much 
of the doctrines and tangled enigmas to unfold and arrange them- 
selves slowly, yet in peculiar order, by the leading of a certain 
experimental clue. By this we hope to point out, as we discern 
them, the disjecta membra long since mangled and concealed 
there, and to discover the abode, at least, of that queenly Isis who 
is alone able to gather them together into the beauty and perfec- 
tion of their original form. 



The True Subject. 135 


Of the True Subject of the Hermetic Art, and its 
concealed Root. 

Opus vobiscum et apud vos est, quod intus arripiens et per- 
manens in terra vel in mare habere potes. 

Tractatus Aureus, cap. i. 

HITHERTO we have regarded this mystic laby- 
rinth of Alchemy from without, considering 
the superficial scheme only ; before we enter, it may 
be well to offer the consenting reader our clue, lest, 
observing merely our indirect and sudden outset, he 
suppose the way mistaken, and losing faith accord- 
ingly, should decline to pass on with us further towards 
the end. 

For the paths through which we would conduct 
him are dark, intricate, lonely, and in a measure fear- 
ful ; far receding, and out of reach of this outer day- 
light, with all its corporeal witnesses and scenes. Nor 
has the way become smoother from being so long a 
while untrodden. We shall have to thread many wind- 
ings, to pass round and through thick tangles of doubt 
and overgrown prejudice, which time has accumulated 
and thrown up together at the gates ; before we can 
hope to enter the sanctuary of our Minerva, much 
less behold the sacred light which burns there before 
her pure presence for ever, refulgent and still. 

No modern art or chemistry, notwithstanding all 
its surreptitious claims, has any thing in common 
to do with Alchemy, beyond the borrowed terms, 
which were made use of in continuance chiefly to 
veil the latter; not from any real relation, either of 
matter, method, or practical result. For though aqua 

136 More Ksoteric View. 

fortis and aqua regia seem to dissolve metals, and 
many salts be Ibund useful in analysis, and fire for the 
tearing in pieces of bodies ; yet nothing vitally altera- 
tive is achieved, unless the vital force be present and 
in action. But modern art drives out, in fact, the 
very nature which the ancients prized ; distilling and 
dissecting superficies, harassing for ever, without the 
more evolving any true cause : and then some con- 
clude, summarily, there is no cause, just because their 
notion of experience and method of experimenting are 
superficial and essentially atheistic. 

The pseudo Alchemists dreamed of gold, and impos- 
sible transformations, and worked with sulphur, mer- 
cury, and salt of the mines, torturing all species, dead 
and living, in vain, without rightly divining the true 
Identity of nature ; the means they employed were 
from literal readings of receipts ; they had no theory 
whereby to direct their research, and making trial of 
nature, as if she were a thing of chance, by chance, 
found nothing. Some fe\y, of superior imagination to 
these, who had glimpses of the Universal Subject, en- 
deavoured to draw light iiito the focus of their vessels, 
to compress and entice the ether by magnetical dispo- 
sition and attractions of various kinds ; but their 
hopes too were vaguely based, there was no Wisdom in 
their magistery, being ignorant of that internal fire and 
vessel of the adepts, so essential to the accomplish- 
ment of the Hermetic work. For how hardly should 
tliey divine without instruction, or interpret the dark 
hieroglyphic seal ? 

It is declared, in the ancient book of Tobit, to be 
honourable to reveal the woi-ks of the Lord ; but good 
to keep close the secret of a king: and the old adepts, 
as if emulous of the sacred ordinance, whilst they 
display all the grandeur and abundant riches of his 
monarchy, make little or no mention of the king at 
all. And whilst the light has remained so .long under 
the bushel of ignorance, with the Divine Wisdom under 
the bark of the Law, it is deplorable to think how 
manv worthy and truth-loving intellects have Ian- 

The True Subject. 137 

guished and perished for lack of knowledge ; know- 
ledge too that is attainable, since it has been attained. 
For their few sakes, w^e now wTite therefore, and feel 
emboldened to hazard evidence of the forbidden truth ; 
and without, we trust, transgressing the spirit of the 
prophet's advice, it may be allow^ed to lay open the 
regalia so far as shall induce inquiry, and a more re- 
spectful consideration than heretofore. 

The inquiries hitherto made by us, concerning the 
physical basis of the Hermetic Science, have helped to 
identify it with a matter now, at best, hypothetical! y 
conceived of only, since the means of proving it are 
unknown, and the obscure instructions of the ancients 
concerning the nature of their conceptive vehicle, has 
caused incalculable error and confusion ; and though 
the days of gross credulity have passed away, and a 
more wide-spread education has helped to awaken the 
common sense of mankind to a perception of the im- 
probable and ridiculous in most things, yet other ob- 
stacles supervene, as great, if not more obnoxious to 
the pursuit of causal science. The human mind, in- 
deed, has been so long unaccustomed truly to know 
anything, or even think of, much less investigate, its 
own intrinsical phenomena, that to speak of them at 
the present time may subject us to every imputation 
of error and presumption. And why ? A barren pe- 
riod has supervened ; and man has no longer any ex- 
perience in the life of Wisdom, nor yet surmises the 
virtue that is in him, to prove and magnify the Uni- 
versal Source. Yet that was the foundation of the 
whole Hermetic magistery, w^hence it is said, that if 
the wise had not found a proper vessel in which to con- 
coct it, the etherial corner-stone would never have 
been brought to light. This Hali declares, and M^- O 
rien, and Albert, saying, that the place is the prin- 
ciple also of the supernatural generation ; and Hermes, 
vas philosophorum est aqua eorum ; but they do not 
openly reveal either, as Maria concludes in her admo- 
nition. — Philosophers have spoken sufficiently of all 
that is necessary concerning the work, with excep- 

138 More Esoteric View. 

tion of the vessel ; which is a divine secret, hidden from 
idolators, and without this knowledge no one can at- 
tain to the magistery.^ 

Thus it appears to have been a rehgious principle 
with the ancients, to w'ithhold the means of proving 
their philosophy from an incapable and reckless world ; 
and if any by hazard, less prudent or envious than the 
rest, alluded oj)enly in his writings either to the con- 
cealed vessel or art of vital ministration, his reveal- 
ment was instantly annulled by false or weakening 
commentaries, or as quickly as possible withdrawn by 
means not the less sure, because hidden from the 
w^orld. Of the former expedient w^e have a notable 
example in Scndivogius, who, towards the conclusion 
of his treatises, referring to the honest Hermit Mo- 
rien's advice to KingCalid, — Hsec enim r^exteextra- 
hitur — This matter, O king, is extracted from thee — 
endeavours to draw attention off from it, by inveigling 
the reader into a doubt artfully raised about some gold 
found sticking between a dead man's teeth.- Such 
instances are not rare, and it has been found easy by 
such similar equivocations, without absolute denial, to 
protect from foolish and profane intrusion that living 
temple wherein alone the wise of all ages have been 
securely able to raise their rejected Corner Stone and 
Ens of Light. 

When, however, the writings of Jacob Bbhme ap- 
peared in Germany, some century and a half ago, the 
Alchemists who lived at that period, write as if they 
supposed their art could little longer remain a secret ; 
a similar alarm had previously arisen amongst certain 
Rosicrucians about the books of Agrippa and Para- 
celsus' disciples, and in both instances because those 
great theosophists spoke openly, applying the practice 
of Alchemy to human life ; suggesting also, as did the 

' See JMaria Practica — iu fine — Ludus Puerorum de A'ase sive 
ovo Philin. in quo lapis iioster ponendus est ut igne et arte per- 
ficiatur. — Artis Aurifer;Ti>, vol. ii. p. 115. Morieni de Trans. Metal. 
Interrog. et Eesp. p. 27. 

'^ See New Light of Alchemy, concluding chapter. 

The True Subject. 139 

latter, the method and medium of attraction. For, 
notwithstanding these, in common with the rest, teach 
that the Mercurial Spirit is everywhere, and to be 
^ound in all things according to the nature of each, 
yet they do not so much profess to have sought for it 
in many things, or that it may with equal advantage 
be drawn forth from all ; since it is neither apt to be- 
come universal of its own accord, or in every Form of 
virtue sufficient for the Hermetic work. Therefore, 
say they, the best and noblest ought to be chosen to 
operate with, unless the searcher proposes to waste 
labour and ingenuity without obtaining his desired 
end. Besides, to search out the identity through all 
creatures and minerals, by way of experiment, would 
seem to be a matter of no small difficulty, if we must 
needs investigate each ; but if one subject should be 
presented which contains all, and the comprehension 
of each subordinate form in a superior essence, then 
this one needs only to be investigated for the discovery 
of all. But the universal orb of the earth, adds the 
Moorish philosopher, contains not so great mysteries 
and excellences as Man reformed by God into his 
image ; and he that desires the primacy amongst the 
students of nature, will nowhere find a greater or 
better reserve to obtain his desire than in himself, who 
is able to draw^ to himself the Central Salt of nature 
in abundance, and in his regenerate Wisdom possess- 
eth all things, and with this light can unlock the 
most hidden and recluse mysteries of nature.^ As 
Agrippa, moreover, testifies, that the soul of man, being 
estranged from the corporeal senses, adheres to a divine 
nature, from which it receives those things which it 
cannot search into by its own powder ; for when the 
mind is free, the reins of the body being loosed and 
going forth, as out of a close prison, it transcends the 
bonds of the members, and, nothing hindering, being 
stirred up in its proper essence, comprehends all 
things. And therefore man was said to be the express 

^ CVntruni jVaturse Concpiitratuni, page 40, &c. 

140 More Esoteric View. 

Image of God, seeing he contains the Universal Reason 
within himself, and has a corporeal simihtude also with 
all, operation wdth all, and conversation with all. But 
he symbolises with matter in a proper subject ; with 
the elements in a fourfold body ; with plants in a vege- 
table virtue ; with animals in a sensitive faculty ; w4th 
the heavens in an etherial spirit and influx of the su- 
perior parts upon the inferior ; with the angelical sphere 
in understanding and wdsdom, and with God in all. 
He is preserved with God and the intelligences by 
faith and wnsdom ; with celestial things by reason and 
discourse ; with all inferior things by sense and do- 
minion ; and acts with all, and has power on all, even 
on God Himself, continues the magician, by knowing 
and loving Him. And as God knoweth all things, so 
man, knowing Him, also can know all things, seeing 
he has for an adequate object Being in general, 
or, as some say. Truth itself: neither is there any- 
thing found in man, nor any disposition in which 
something of divinity may not shine forth ; neither is 
there anything in God which may not also be re- 
presented in man. Whosoever, therefore, shall know 
himself, shall know all things in himself: but especially 
he shall know^ God, according to whose image he was 
made; he shall know the world, the resemblance of 
which he beareth ; he shall know all creatures with 
which in essence he symboliseth, and what comfort he 
can have and obtain from stones, plants, animals, 
elements ; from spirits, angels, and everything ; and 
how all things may be fitted for all things, in their 
time, place, order, measure, proportion, and harmony; 
even how he can draw and bring them to himself as a 
loadstone, iron.^ 

And this the adept, Sendivogius, moreover declares : 
That Nature, having her proper light, is by the shadowy 
body of sense, hidden from our eyes ; but if, says he, 
the light of nature doth enlighten any one, presently 
the cloud is taken away from before his eyes, and with- 

^ Occult Philosophy, book iii. chap, xxxvi. and xlvi. 

The True Subject. 141 

out any let, he can behold the point of our loadstone, 
answering to each centre of the beams, (viz. of the 
sun and moon philosophical,) for so far doth the light 
of nature penetrate and discover inward things ; the 
body of man is a shadow of the seed of nature, and 
as man's body is covered with a garment, so is man's 
nature covered with the body. Man was created of 
the earth, and lives by virtue of the air ; for there is 
in the air a secret food of life, whose invisible con- 
gealed spirit is better than the whole world. Oh, 
holy and wonderful nature ! which knowest how to pro- 
duce wonderful fruits by water, out of the earth and 
from the air to give them life ! The eyes of the wise 
look upon nature otherwise than the eyes of common 
men. The most high Creator, having been wiUing to 
manifest all natural things to man, hath even showed 
us that celestial things themselves were naturally 
made ; by which his absolute power and wisdom might 
be so much the better known ; all which things the 
philosophers in the light of nature, as in a looking- 
glass, have a clear sight of; for which cause they es- 
teemed this art of Alchemy, viz., not so much out of 
covetousness for gold or silver, but for the knowledge 
sake ; not only of all natural things, but also of the 
power of the Creator. But they are willing to speak 
of these things sparingly only, and figuratively, lest 
those divine mysteries, by which nature is illustrated, 
should be discovered to the unworthy ; which thou, if 
thou knowest hoiv to know thyself, and art not of a stiff 
neck, may est easily comprehend who art created after 
the likeness of the great world, yea after the image of 
God. Thou hast in thy body the anatomy of the 
whole world, and all thy members answer to some 
celestials; let, therefore, the searcher of this Sacred 
Science know that the soul in man, the lesser world or 
microcosm, substituting the place of its centre, is the 
king, and is placed in the vital spirit in the purest 
blood. That governs the mind, and the mind the 
body ; but this same soul, by which man differs from 
other animals and which operates in the body, govern- 

142 More Esoteric View. 

ing all its motions, hath a far greater operation out of 
the body, because out of the body it absolutely reigns 
CUaA^ — in this respect, it differs from the life of other creatures 
which have only spirit and not the soul of Deity.' 

Such arc the distinctive assertions of one esteemed 
an adept by his cotemporaries, and who professes to 
ground them also on his own manual experience in 
the proto-chemistry of Hermes. And, whether they be 
entirely credited or not, these may help to elucidate 
the words of Trismegistus, where, in the first chapter 
of the Golden Treatise, he says, — that the work is both 
in us and about us ; and that the whole magistery is 
Q comprehended in the hidden elements of his Wisdom.'^ 
^ And Geber\ in the same sense, where he declares that 
he who in /limse if knows not natural principles, is very 
remote from this sacred science, because he has not 
the true root in him whereon to base his labour and 
intention.'^ Observe, therefore, and take heed, says 
Basil, that all metals and minerals have one root from 
whence their descent is ; he that knows t/iat rightly 
needs not to destroy metals in order to extract the 
spirit from one, the sulphur from another, or salt from 
another ; for there is a nearer place yet in which these 
three, viz., the mercury, salt, and sulphur — spirit, body 
and soul — lie hid together in one thing, well known, 
and whence they may with great praise be gotten. He 
that knows exactly this golden seed or magnet, and 
searcheth throughly into its properties, he hath the 
true root of life, and may attain to that which his 
heart longs for; wherefore I intreat, continues the 
monk, all true lovers of mineral science, and sons of 
art, diligently to inquire after this metallic seed, or 
root, and be assured that it is not an idle chimera or 
dream, but a real and certain truth. ^ 

It was from such an internal intimacy, and central 
searching of the mystery, that the Paracelsian Crollius 

» New Light of Alchemy, pp. 32, 40, 102. 
'^ Tract, Aur. cap. i. & ii. 
•'' Sum of Perf. book i. 

■* See the Stoue of Fire, Kircliriiigius. Ed. Webster's Hist, of 
Minerals, p. 9, the Extract. 

The True Subject. 143 

tells us lie came to know that the same light and 
mineral vapour, which produces gold within the bowels 
of the earth is also in man, and that the same is the 
generating spirit of all creatures.' And Albertus 
Magnus, in his book of Minerals, after asserting that 
gold may be found everywhere, in the final analysis of 
every natural thing, concludes by showing that the 
highest mineral virtue nevertheless resides in man ; for 
fire, which is the true aurific principle in the life of all, 
burns more than all glorious in him erect. — Our 
Mercury is philosophic, fiery, vital — which may be 
mixed with all metals and again be separated from 
them ; it is prepared in the innermost chamber of life, 
and there it is coagulated, as the Hermetic phrase runs, 
and where metals grow there they may be found. ^ 

Remember how man, ys most noble creature 
In Erth's composycion that ever Grod wrought, 
In whom are the fowre elements proportyonyd by nature, 
A naturall mercuiyalyte w-hych cost ryglit nought, 
Out of hys myner by arte yt most be brought ; 
Tor our mettalls be noiight ells but myners too, 
Of our Soon and Moone, wyse Reymond sevd so.^ 

And though the philosophers have chosen to say 
little about it, on account of the shortness of life, and 
the length of this work, as Maria says, yet they 
themselves found out these hidden elements, and 
themselves increased them. And thou, oh, Man, cries 
the Arabian Alipili, even thou art he who through the 
breath and power of the watej- and earth in thyself, 
conjoinest the elements and makest them one ; and 
thyself not knowing what a treasure thou hast hidden 
in thee, from the coagulation and consent of these 
powers, producest an essence, called, by us, the expert, 
the great and miraculous mystery of the world ; that is 
the true fiery water. — Eschva may'im, Erascha maijim, 
yea, it surmounts in its power, the fire, air, earth and 
water ; for it dissolves radically, incrudates even the 

^ CroUius' Philosophy Reformed, p. 105. 

2 Tract. Aureus. Text et Scholium, cap. i. 

^ Ripley's Admonition of Erroneous Experiments. 

144 More Esoteric View. 

/ mature, constant, and very fixed, tiery and abiding 
^S/ mass and matter of gold, and reduc^^ it into a fat 
/ black earth, like to thick spittle ; wherein we find a 
water and the true salt destitute of all odor, vehemency, 
and corrosive nature of the fire : there is nothing in 
the whole world besides to be found which can do this ; 
to which nothing is shut ; and though it is a precious 
thing, more precious than everything, yet the poor as 
well as the rich may have it in the same equal plenty. 
The wise men have sought this thing, and the wise 
men have found it.^ 

And it behoves him, therefore, who would be intro- 
duced to this hidden Wisdom, says Hermes, to quit 
himself from the usurpations of vice, to be good and 
just and of a profound reason, ready at hand to help 
mankind ; for these subtle chemical secrets may never 
be handled by the idle or vicious unbelievers of these 
matters in which they are only ignorant, who, being 
destitute of light, defile by an evil imagination the 
very Spirit that ought to be refined. — Omne Aurum 
est ses, sed non omne ees est aurum : — and the true 
phj^sician, according toCroUius (whom Paracelsus calls 
a natural divine) is true, sincere, intelligent, faithful ; 
and being well exercised in the vital analysis of bodies, 
knows that there is no constant quality of any body 
^vhich is not to be found in the salt, mercury, and 
sulphur thereof.^ And these three principles of attrac- 
tion, repulsion, and circulation, the universal accord of 
life, are everywhere and in all. 

Blood contaiueth the three tilings I have told, 

And in his tincture hath nature of gold : 

AVithout gold, no metal may sliine bright ; 

Without blood no body hath light : 

So doth the greater and less world still 

Hold the cii'cle according to God's will. 

Blood hath true proportion of th' elements foure, 

And of the three parts spoke of before ; 

For blood is the principle matter of each thing, 

Which hath any luauuer of increasing. 

' Centrum Naturae Concentratum, pp. 80, 81. 
' Phil. Eeform. pp. 25, 95. Tract. Aureus, cap. ii. 

The True Subject. 145 

The true blood to find without labour or cost, 

Thou knowest where to have it, or thy wits be lost ; 

Seek out the noblest, as I said before, 

And now of the Matter, I dare say no more.^ 

Or, what more shall I say? (asks Morien, empha- 
tically, discoursing ^\Ai\\ the Arabian monarch about 
the confection of the Stone, and after showing the dis- 
tinctive supremacy of man in nature.) The thing, O 
king, is extracted from thee, in the which mineral 
thou dost even exist ; with thee it is found ; by thee 
it is received ; and when thou shalt have proved 
all by the love and delight in thee, it will increase ; 
and thou wilt know that I have spoken an enduring 

Although few write so clearly to the purpose as 
those we have selected, yet the more modern class of 
adepts have in general left hints and suggestions to 
the same effect ; they describe the life of man, as by 
their Art revealed, to be a pure, naked, and unmingled 
fire of infinite capability, differing from that of the 
prone creatures in form, educability, and capacity for 
melioration in itself. And though it might be sup- 
posed, according to the alleged diffusion of the Matter, 
that, if the Art of separating it were known, it might be 
taken anywhere (which in part also is true) yet we 
may consider the object was not simply to obtain the 
Matter or prove it only, but to improve, perfect, and 
bring the Causal light to manifestation. And in what 
our human circulatory system differs and occultly ap- 
proximates, so that it can be made to comprehend all 
inferior existences, and supersede nature in her course, 
may be gathered from this philosophy; and many rea- 
sons are given why the most noble subject was chosen, 
and this only vessel for its elaboration. The foregoing 
evidence, however, without more defence at present, 
may help to lead on the inquiry to a more explicit 

1 Theat. Chem. Britt. p. 405. 
- De Transm. ^fetal. Artis Auriferap, vol. i. end. 

146 More Esoteric View. 

Attraction is the first principle of motion in nature ; 
this is generally admitted, but the origin of this uni- 
versal attraction is occult and incomprehensible to the 
ordinary human understanding. Repulsion is the se- 
cond principle, and a necessary consequence of the 
first by reaction. Circulation is the third principle, 
proceeding from the conflict of the former two. 

All motion is derived from this threefold source in 
its reciprocal relations, which are diversified according 
to its qualifications with the matter. The attraction, 
repulsion, and circulation in the sun and stars move 
the planets in their orbits ; the same principle in each 
globe performs the rotation on its axis, and the satel- 
lites partake the same motion from their primaries. 
Every quantity of matter, solid, fluid, or gaseous, when 
separated from the rest by its quality or discontinuity, 
is possessed individually by the same principles, how- 
ever infinite the variety of substances, natural or arti- 
ficial, great or small ; vegetable and animal forms and 
motions are no less evidences of these three principles 
than the heavenly and earthly bodies. Hence chemical 
affinity, called Elective Attraction, is ruled by the same 
laws ; and it is found that when two matters unite, one 
is attractive and the other repulsive ; when either at- 
traction or repulsion predominates in a matter, the 
circulation is in ellipse ; but when they are in equili- 
brium, a circle is produced. Repulsion, being pro- 
duced in its origin by attraction, equals it, as reaction 
equals action : but in nature one principle is everij- 
where more latent or inert, or weaker than another ; 
and there are degrees accordingly, in which either 
predominates in external manifestation ; hence the 
different degrees of natural affinity for union. There 
are also degrees of strength, fi'om harshness to mild- 
ness, and in the operation of the Three Principles, from 
the compaction of a hard rock to the loose adherence 
of the particles of a globule of mercury or dew, from 
explosion to expansion, and from a violent whirling 
motion to a gentle evolution. But the medium is al- 
ways in the circulation produced from the action and 

The True Subject. 147 

reaction of centrifugal and centripetal forces, and the 
equality of these forms a circle, as was before observed, 
and which labours to harmonize the conflict of these 
two, and will succeed if the matter be duly quahfied 
for it. 

But, according to the Alchemists, there is but One 
Matter truly qualifiable or capable of qualifying matter 
to be harmonized in this way, since nature has fallen 
off from her original balance, and the wheel of human 
life runs forth, deviating from its axis, into a line which 
terminates finally in dissolution ; which nothing but 
their Antimonial Spirit rectified by Art, being in bright 
lines of equal attraction and repulsion, as it were a 
perfect magnet in a star-like circle of irradiated circu- 
lation, can contrariate or withstand.^ 

And the agent in the preparation of this spirit, con- 
tinues Bohme, is the Invisible Mercury, and no 
process can finally fail where the invisible, universal 
Mercury, or spiritual air of Antimony, is present, con- 
densed in its proper vehicle in any of the degrees of 
permanency; and the Principle of its operation consists 
in the power of harmonizing the three discordant prin- 
ciples of Attraction, Rtpidsion, and Circulation^ I A»€t o-aj^ 
this in the vital spirit of the arterial blood, where the 
universal principles are in their natural generation un- 
equally composed : the repulsive force so far predo- 
minating over the interior attraction, that the total 
circulatory life is expulsive, and drawn without to a 
debilitated consciousness away from its First Cause. 
Which inverse order of relationship and vital ignorance 
it is the object of the Hermetic art to remedy, and, by 
occultation of the opposive principle, to restore the 
true rector to his original rule. Sanguinem urinamque 
pariter dat nobis natura, et ab horum natura salem dat 
Pyrotechnia, quem circulat ars in salem circulatum 
Paracelsi. Hoc addam : sang-uinis salem per urinaceum 

1 See Jacob Bohme on tlie Generation of the Three Prin- 

2 Idem, see Phillips's Lives of the Alchemists, p. 294, &c. 

L 2 

148 More Esoteric View. 

fermentum sic transmutari debere, ut ultimam vitam 
amittat, mediamque servet, salsedinemque retineat.^ 

Si fixum solvas faciasque volare solutum 
Et volucrem figas, faciunt te vivere tutum 
Solve, Coagula, Fige. 

This know, therefore, says Hermes, that except 
thou understandest how to mortify and induce genera- 
tion, to vivify the Spirit, to cleanse and introduce 
Light, until they fight and contend with each other, 
and grow white and freed from their defilements, 
rising, as it were, from blackness and darkness, thou 
knowest nothing, nor canst perform anything ; but if 
thou knowest this, thou shalt be of a great dignity.^ 
All which our modern exponent, further illustrating 
the Hermetic process, confirms. For, in three months' 
circulation, says he, by digestion, the powder becomes 
completely black, the opposition of attraction and re- 
pulsion ceases (in the vital spirit), and the attraction 
of the fixed which produced the repulsion of the 
volatile, is slain by the circulation which also dies it- 
self, and all three enter into rest. Then there is no 
more compression or expansion, ascent or descent, but 
the action and reaction have, by the equiUbriate radia- 
tion of forces and the subtlety of the spirit, formed a 
circulation which has consumed all discordant opposi- 
tion, and sunk down black and motionless. And thus 
the head of Hermes' crow is said to be in the beginning 
of this work ; that which at first was fixed, viz. the 
sentient medium, is dissolved, and by the same process 
more profoundly operating, the original evil is made 
manifest in the matter to be renewed, and hence the 
principle of amendment and rectification also will ap- 
pear, and on either side it is a signal of Art. 

The same Three Principles gradually assume a new 
life, continues Bohme, infinitely more powerful in 
virtue, but without any violent contest, and in three 

1 Arcanum Liquaris Alkahest Eesp. 76, 78. 
'^ Tract. Aur. cap. ii. 

The True Subject. 149 

months farther, the mild action of the principles in 
harmony have produced a brilHant whiteness in the 
matter, which in three months more become a bril- 
liant yellow, red, or purpling tincture. — Approach, ye 
sons of Wisdom, and rejoice ; let us now rejoice toge- 
ther, for the reign of sin is finished, and the king doth 
rule, and now he is invested with the red garment, and 
now the scarlet colour is put on.^ 

That was the process of working with the Vital Spirit, 
so often reiterated by Hermes, Democritus, and the 
rest before cited, which also is many times passed 
through for the practical accomphshment. But every 
other matter labours for this perfection in vain ; it can 
only attain to combustion, heat, and temporary light, 
and the consumption of the common elements in their 
analysis is a separation into gas and ashes ; but this 
mystical nature revives, fortified from every successive 
dissolution, renewing its Whole resolutely from either 
extreme by union. This Spirit is so full of life, says 
the adept, that if the process fails in any stage, an ad- 
dition of the same will renew it. The white or red 
powder is increased tenfold in strength and quantity by 
each digestion of it with fresh antimony in powder, wet 
with gas water, or oil of this antimony, and each di- 
gestion is made in tenfold shorter time than the pre- 
ceding, from a week to a few hours. For this gold is / . 
endued with a magnetical virtue, which, by the in- (yns<6<ss-a 
spi/ate fulgor of its tincture, draws the divine increase 
after it ; in which nature expends all her forces, but 
leaves the victory to Art, which, by graduation to the 
full height, adds to the natural effulgence a superna- 
tural light ; for what else but light should multiply ? 
Whence it has been called likewise the terrestrial or 
Microcosmic Sun, the triumphal Chariot of Antimony 
turned swiftly upon the current wheel of life ; and this 
is the Stone of Fire seen in bright lines, of equal attrac- 
tion and repulsion, when made manifest, as it were, an 
armed magnet included and circulating in a perpetual 

' Tract. Aur. cap. iii. 


150 More Esoteric View. 

heaven.^ Know now, therefore, and consider, says 
Basil Valentine, that this true tincture of Antimony, 
which is the medicine of men and metals, is not made 
of crude melted antimony, such as the apothe- 
caries and merchants sell, but is extracted from the 
t)ae mineral, as it is taken from the mountains ; and 
how that extraction should be made, is a principal se- 
cret in which the whole art of Alchemy consists. 
Health, riches, and honour attend him who rightly 
attains it. — Lapis noster inter duos monticulos nascitur; 
in te et in me et in nostri similibus latet.^ And when 
the mechanical part of the Three Principles passes into 
the hands of its proper manufacturers equally and 
generally in all countries, concludes Bohme, then 
will the school of adepts come out from its captivity, 
and will find their proper level as true physicians for 
the body and soul, dispensing the leaves of life for the 
healing of the nations. But now the Seal of God 
lieth before it, to conceal the true ground, unless a 
man knew for certain that it would not be misused ; 
for there is no power to obtain it, no art or skill 
availeth, unless one intrust another with somewhat (as 
Hermes and Arnold bear witness) ; yet the Work is 
easy and simple, but the Wisdom therein is great and 
the greatest mystery.^ 

' Aurum ex se virtutein magiieticam habet, quae cor huraanum 
fulgore splendente tincturiu suse traliit, in qua iiatura omnes A'ires 
Biias impeiidit, reservata tamen artis iudustrisD victoria, ut per 
graduationem supremain, quam splendori naturali adjungit, in- 
iiuite earn superare possit, uudc et nomen solis terrestris acqui- 
sivit. Artista igitur labore suo colorem aureum (in cujus pretioso 
opere perficiendo natura vires suas omnes impendit) usque ad 
summuni gradiim ruboris obscuri exaltat, qua augmentatione 
metalla imperfecta in certa quantitate, ratione gradus naturalis 
per projectionem tinctura^ hujus artiticialis altiCis asceudunt et 
colorautur, eo ipso monstrans, quod color iste aureus per naturaui 
in aurum introductus tautilm via aliqua sit ad rubidinem in qua 
coniplectio perfectse virtutis ad conservandum et multiplicaudum 
jacet — Tractatus de Yero Sale, Nuysement, p. 164. 

2 Triumphal Chariot of Antimony, by Kirchringius, English 
edition, p. 146. M. Dunstaui Tract. Secret, in init. 

2 See Bcihme's Epistles, and early part of tlie Forty Questions, 

The True Subject. 151 

The greatest mystery of all is in Existence, and the 
only mystery ; and as fire and light are one and every- 
where perceived after the same manner, so is life in 
ever}'^ particular the same inscrutable Identity through 
all. Or does a vast and filled creation hang before 
our eyes, and we think it to be without a founda- 
tion ? Do we ourselves exist and consciously breathe, 
denying a mystery ; or rather, admitting this, does any-,^T7v£y 
doubt that it is discoverable? Does not everything 
imply a necessary cause, and is not each sustained 
still living in the same ? and is it not absurd to sup- 
pose that we are entirely depending on externals, or 
that being in part self-dependent, we are so far de- 
pending on nothing? If, therefore, we contain within 
us a proper principle of being, why should not this, 
thus proximate, be known ? Behold, says the apostle, 
He is not far off from every one of us ; for in Him we 
live, and move, and have ourbeing. — And again, to those 
forgetful Athenians, — God made man to the end that he 
should seek the Lord, if haply he might feel after him 
and find him.^ And is not this a promise worth the 
certifying, an end worthy to be sought out, to feel and 
know God? Seek and ye shall find, knock and it 
shall be opened unto you ; yet it remains hidden still : 
and that Philalethean Welshman, Vaughan, indeed 
advises that we give ourselves no trouble about these 
mysteries, or attempt to dabble in the subtle philo- 
sophy of Wisdom, until we have a knowledge of the 
Protochemic Artifice ; for that by means of this, and 
this only, the true foundation is discoverable, and 
without it nothing can be intrinsically understood. It 
were a foolish presumption, he observes, if a lapidary 
should undertake to state the value or lustre of a 
jewel that is shut up, before he opens the cabinet ; yet 
men will presume to judge of invisible celestial things, 
which are shut up within the closet of matter, and all 

and his Discourse of the Three Principles before referred to, con- 
taining passages to the same effect. 
' Acts xvii. 27, 28. 

152 More Esoteric View. 

the while perusing the outside which is the crust of 
nature. But I advise them to use their hands and not 
their fancies, and to change their abstractions into ex- 
tractions ; for verily as long as they lick the shell 
after their fashion, and pierce not experimentally into 
the centre of things, they can do no otherwise than 
they have done ; they cannot know things intrin- 
sically, but only describe them by their outward effects 
and motions, which are subject and obvious to every 
common eye. Let them consider, therefore, that there 
is in nature a certain Spirit which applies himself to 
the matter, and actuates in every generation ; that 
there is also a passive intrinsical principle where he is 
more immediately resident than in the rest, and by 
mediation of which he communicates with the more 
gi'oss material parts. For there is in nature a certain 
chain or subordinate propinquity of complexions be- 
tween visibles and invisibles, and this is it by which 
the superior spiritual essences descend and converse 
here below with the matter. But, he continues, have 
a care lest you misconceive me. I speak not in this 
place of the divine spirit, but 1 speak of a certain 
. Art by which a Particular Spirit may he united to the 
^t^a/^eJ^" Universal; and nature by conse(juence be ^ trtmgiy - ex- 
/ (/ alted and luultiplied} And Agrippa speaks yet more 
specifically to this point, where, in the third book of 
his Occult Philosophy, he declares (calling x\puleius 
also to witness) that by a certain mysterious recreation 
and appeasing, the human mind, especially that which 
is simple and pure, may be converted and laid asleep 
from its present life so utterly as to be brought into 
its divine nature, and become enlightened with the 
divine light, and withal receive the virtue of some 
wonderful effects.^ 

Both these passages are in allusion to the art of 
Alchemy ; and this, persists Agrippa, is that which I 
would have you know ; because in us is the Operator 
of all wonderful effects ; who know how to discern 

' Auima Magia Abscoudita, pp. 10, 11. 
- Book iii. cap. slviii. 

The True Subject. 153 

and to effect, and that without any sin or offence to 
God, whatsoever the monstrous mathematicians, the 
prodigious magicians, the envious alchemists, and be- 
witching necromancers can do by spirits, in us, I say, 
is the Operator of miracles. 

Not the bright stars of the skie, nor flames of hell, 
But the Spirit begetting all doth in us dwell. ^ 

How many earnest and curious books there have 
been written relative to the powers of magic and trans- 
formations by spells, talismans, and circumstantial 
conjurations of all sorts, which, taken according to the 
letter, are ridiculous without the key. But the re- 
cords of Alchemy are, above all, calculated to mislead 
those who have gone abroad thoughtlessly seeking for 
that perfection which was to be found only by experi- 
mentally seeking at home within themselves. 

Quid mirum noseere mundum 
Si possunt homines, quibus est et mundus in ipsis / 

Exemplumque Dei quisquis^est in imagine parva?^ -^y 

Man then, shall we conclude at length, is the true la- 
boratory of the Hermetic art; his life the subject, the 
grand distillatory, the thing distilling and the thing dis- 
tilled, and Self-Knowledge to be at the root of all Al- 
chemical tradition ? Or, is any one disappointed at such 
a conclusion, imagining ditficulties, or that the science 
is impracticable because it is humanly based? — or some 
may possibly think the pursuit dangerous, or inexpe- 
dient, or unprofitable, scientific investigation having 
been so long and successfully carried on in every ad- 
verse direction ? Behold we invite not the unwilling, 
nor will these studies be found to reward the sordid 
seeker after riches or gold only ; such may find better 
employ and easier emolument from the abundant offer- 
ing of the precious metal upon earth, nor do we anti- 
cipate that many will in the present day be attracted 
to our goal. 

^ Epistle to Trithemius at the end. 
' Manilius Astronomicon, lib. x. 

154 More Esoteric View. 

Yet, notwithstanding so much scepticism and the 
slm' which ignorance has cast now for centuries upon 
every early creed and philosophy, modern discoveries 
tend evermore to reprove the same ; identifying hght, 
as the common vital sustenant, to be in motive accord 
throughout the human circulatory system with the 
planetary spheres and harmonious dispositions of the 
occult medium in space ; and as human physiology 
advances with the other sciences in unison, the notion 
of our natural con-espondency enlarges, proving things 
more and more minutely congruous, until at length, 
the conscious relationship would seem to be almost 
only wanting to confirm the ancient tradition and 
lead into its full faith. Yet on no ground with 
which we are now actually acquainted could it be 
proved that man is a perfect microcosm, wherein, as 
it was said, the great world and all its creatures 
might be summarily discerned: we have no evidence 
of any such thing ; our affinities with external nature 
are bounded in sense, and our knowledge of her inte- 
gral operations is proportionally defective. All that 
we do know is learned by observation, and w^e should 
be hardly induced, from anything we are commonly 
conversant with, to conclude that Self-Knowledge 
would be a way to the knowledge of the Universal Na- 
ture, Yet this was taught and believed formerly, not 
either as if it were an arbitrary conceit, but as a truth 
understood and proved beyond speculation. 

It may ^c well to observe, however, and lest mis- 
understanding should at all arise in this respect, that 
it is not so much with reference to physical particulars, 
either to the perfection of his bodily constitution, or 
because he is composed of the four elements, that 
man was formerly distinguished; for these other animals 
and vegetables even partake, and often in a superior 
degree; but it was rather on account of a Divine Reason, 
an occult principle of Causal Efficience, said to be ori- 
ginally resident in his life, that man was made to rank 
so high in the cabalistic scriptures and schools of 
antique experience. And here we remark the outer 

The True Subject. 155 

body, mentioned indeed, yet as amongst the last of 
things accordant ; nevertheless it is nearly all we are 
now able to observe ; as, of the rest, the Universal 
Reason so magnified and its ethereal vehicle, very mea- 
gre evidence is afforded to the senses or this life. Yet 
man, say they, is demonstrated to be a compendium 
of the whole created nature, and was generated to be- 
come wise and have a dominion over the whole of 
things ; having within him, besides those faculties 
whicii he exerts ordinarily and by which he judges and 
contemplates sensible phenomena, ^^^^fe the germ of a 
higher faculty or Wisdom, which, when revealed and 
set alone, all the forms of things and hidden springs 
of nature become intuitively known and are implied 
essentially. This Being, moreover, or Faculty of Wis- 
dom, is reputed so to subsist with reference to nature 
as her substratal source, that it works magically 
withal, discovering latent properties as a principle, go- 
verning and supplying all dependent existence ; and 
of this they speak magisterially, as if in alliance they 
had known the Omniscient Nature and, in their own 
ilhiminated understanding, the structure of the uni- 

Now if it be true that such an experience was ever 
granted to man on earth, it is now either wholly de- 
parted or the conditions are estranged. We can but 
with difficulty imagine, much less are we able to be- 
lieve, ourselves capable of enjoying that free perspica- 
city of thought in universal consciousness which is 
cognizant by «app€n; t with essential being. Man from ^^ux^/Cc^x^ 
his birth employs sense prior to reflection, and all our 
knowledge begins in this life with sensible observa- 
tion ; most persons pass on well contented with such 
evidence as externals supply, regarding them as the 
only legitimate, or, indeed, possible objects of know- 
ledge. But some few there have been in all ages, excep- 
tions to the multitude, intellects in whom the standard 
of reality has been too far unfolded to suffer them to 
yield implicitly to the conclusions of sense. It is not 
those who have studied the philosophy of the ancients 

156 More Esoteric View. 

that have denounced it as chimerical ; our metaphysi- 
cians, without exception amongst those deserving the 
appellative, and who aspired after the same convictive 
truth, have lamented the inadequacy of natural reason, 
at the same time that they recognised the supremacy 
of its Law as measuring and determining sensible par- 
ticulars ; but they have not been able to redeem it 
from dependency on these ; for every attempt of the 
unassisted reason terminates negatively, as the Subject 
Identity slides evermore behind the regardant mind ; 
it is only able at best, therefore, to maintain a coun- 
ter ground, whereby to prove the shilling evidence of 
its own and other earthly phenomena. 

But although satisfaction is thus denied to modern 
inquiry, and philosophers have disputed about the 
conditions and difficulty of the Absolute ground, yet 
are there none found, even in latter times, so pre- 
sumptuous as to deny the possibility, seeing it thus 
doubly implied, no less in the testimony of the highest 
reason than of tradition : and so they ha\ e honoured 
the ancients afar off either in despair or admiration of 
their Wisdom, unable themselves to break the enchant- 
ment which isolates the reflective faculty, and disables 
it in the inquiry after that Fontal Nature which, by 
a necessary criterion, it craves. 

For we may observe, that the evidence of reason, 
even in common life, is irresistible, or, more exactly 
to speak, intuition is the evidence and end of every 
rational proof. We believe in the phenomenon of 
existence spontaneously, but in a power of antecedents 
to produce their eftects . necessarily ; in the idea of 
time, eternity is implied; with bound, intinity ; as the 
unit is included in each dependent of a numerical 
series, and the mathematics have their evidence in 
intellectual assent ; nor do we ever question the 
validity of the Law, w'hich thus abstractedly concludes 
within us, though our inferences from external facts 
are for ever varying, and perpetually at fault. 

Locke, discoursing upon the intrinsic superiority of 
the Intellectual Law in his Es.sai/, observes that Intui- 

The True Subject. 157 

tive faith is certain beyond all doubt, and needs no 
proof beyond itself, nor can have any, this being 
the highest of all human certainty. And it is this 
very truth, that a no less eminent French philosopher, 
Victor Cousin, has successfully employed within these 
few years, to shake the sensual system of Locke and 
Condillac to its foundation.^ And this subsistence of 
Universals in the human mind deserves to be pro- 
foundly considered by all who are interested in the 
pursuit of truth ; for it includes a promise far beyond 
itself and stable proof of another subsistence however 
consciously unknown. Thus, if ordinary conviction is 
not attained but by an assurance of reason to itself, and 
if, in the discovery of and assent to universal proposi- 
tions, there is no use of the discursive faculty or of exter- 
nal facts to witness ; if, in short, we really know any- 
thing of self-evident intellectual necessity, independent 
of sensible persuasion, then does it not follow, there 
is a higher evidence of truth than the senses afford, 
and a superstantial nature of things implied which, 
though now latent and succeeding in order of time, is 
first in thought absolutely, and in the circular pro- 
gression of nature may be so practically manifested at 
last ? Aristotle compares the subsistence of Universals 
in the natural understanding to colours, since these 
require the splendour of the sun to discover their 
beauty, as do those the inspiring afflux of their fontal 
illumination : therefore, too, he denominates human 
reason, intellect in capacity, both on account of its 
subordination to essential intellect, and because it is 
from a new awakening, a divine recreation, as it were, 
that it conceives the full perfection of a life in ac- 
cordance with its own intelligible beauty, goodness, 
and truth. 

Thus strictly regarding the Intellectual Law, as it 
proves and orders inquiry in common life, we have an 
image, as it were, an embryo conception of that Ar- 
chetypal AVisdom which the ancients celebrated as 

1 Elements rle Psycologie, &c. Paris, 1836. 

158 More Esoteric View. 

the occult essence of that Law. And here we remark 
the grand divergence between modern and ancient 
metaphysics : that same Law wdiich the former recog- 
nises but as an abstract boundary of thought only, 
having its object in sensibles, the latter proclaims 
absolutely to be the cathohc subject of the great 
efficient force of nature, as known also, and proved in 
the human conscience, when this is purified and passed 
back into contacting experience with its source. And 
this was Wisdom, Intellect, Divinization ; and the true 
man, according to Plato and the Aristotelians, is this 
Intellect ; for the essence of everything is the summit 
of its nature. And as man is the summit of this 
sublunary creation, and reason is the highest faculty 
with wdiich he is here endow^ed, should not this pro- 
bably be the next in progress to make manifest the 
alleged divinity of his first source ? 

Lest doubt should still lurk, however, about such a 
Divinity, and whether the notion is rightly conceived 
according to the teaching of the best philosophers, 
it may be well to bring them forward here, speaking 
for themselves. 

Thus Aristotle, for first example, since he will not 
be rated altogether as an enthusiast, in the beginning 
of his A/etup/ii/sics, declares Wisdom to be the highest 
science ; adding that a wise man possesses a science of 
all things in intellect ; not indeed derived from sen- 
sible particulars, but according to that which is univer- 
sal and absolute in himself^ In the Nichomachcan 
Ethics, too, after showing Intellect to be that power of 
the soul by wdiich we know and prove things demon- 
stratively, he further distinguishes Wisdom as the true 
being of that Intellect; the science and intellection 
of things most honourable by nature ; that though 
this part is small in bulk, yet it abounds in energy, 
and as much exceeds the composite nature of man in 
power as in this energy, which is the most delectable 
of all energies.'^ And throughout the Metaphysics, 

^ Metaphysics, book i. cap. ii. 
^ Ethics, book x. cap. vii. 

The True Subject. 159 

but more especially in the Twelfth Book, he demon- 
strates the necessary subsistence of incorporeal (/. e. 
essential) being, and its efficacy in operation when, 
by the help of certain mystical exercises and prepara- 
tions, the human Understanding Medium is made 
to pass into contact with its Antecedent Cause ; that 
then it becomes to be a life in energy, and enjoys the 
most exalted and excellent faculty of discernment, 
which was before occult, and the knowledge of which 
is inexpressibly blessed, and not to be conceived of by 
such as are not duly initiated and capable of this deifi- 
cation. — True Intellect, he says, is that which is 
essentially the most essential of that which is most 
essential ; and it becomes intelligible by contact and 
intellection ; and that Intellect is the same with the 
intelligible, the understanding recipient of the intel- 
ligible essence.^ Which essence, too, is Wisdom, and 
the faculty we are discussing. But Plato yet more 
plainly declares that to know oneself is Wisdom and 
the highest virtue of the soul : for the soul rightly 
entering into herself will behold all other things, and 
Deity itself; as verging to her own union and to 
the centre of all life, lajdng aside multitude and the 
variety of all manifold powers which she contains, she 
ascends to the highest watch-tower of beings.^ Ac- 
cording to Socrates, also, in the Republic, we read 
that Wisdom is generative of truth and intellect ; and 
in the Thecetetus Wisdom is defined to be that which 
gives perfection to things imperfect, and calls forth 
the latent Intellections of the soul — and again, by 
Diotima, in the Banquet, that mind which is become 
w^ise needs not to investigate any further (since it 
possesses the true InteUigible) ; that is to say, the 
proper object of intellectual inquiry in itself; and 
hence the doctrine of Wisdom according to Plato may 
be sufficiently obvious. 

But Wisdom, says the Pythagorean Archytas, as 

^ Metaphysics, book xii. chap. vii. 

- See the First Alcibiades, page 90; aud Prochis on the 
Theology of Plato, lib. i. cap. iii. p. 7. Taylor. 

160 More Esoteric View. 

much excels all the other faculties as sight does the 
other corporeal senses, or the sun the stars : and man 
was constituted to the end that he might contemplate 
the Reason of the whole nature, in order that, being 
himself the work of Wisdom, he might surv^ey the 
Wisdom of the things, which exist Wisdom is not 
conversant with a certain definite existing thing but 
simply with all things ; and so subsists with reference 
to all that it is the province of it to know and con- 
template the universal accidents of things and discover 
the Principles of all Being. Whoever therefore is able 
to analyze all the genera which are contained under 
one and the same principle and again to compose 
and connumerate them, he appears to be wise and 
to possess the most perfect veracity. Further still 
he will have discovered a beautiful place of survey, 
from which it will be possible to behold Divinity and 
all things that are in co-ordination with and successive 
to Him, subsisting separately and distinct from each 
other. Having likewise entered this most ample road, 
being impelled in a right direction by Intellect, and 
having arrived at the end of his course, he iv'iU have 
coujoined ends with beg'inu'uigs , and will know that 
God who is the principle, middle, and end of all things 
which are accomplished according to justice and right 

Here again we have a faculty discussed which is far 
above ordinary reason, since this verges to sensibles 
and is dependent on them ; but Wisdom implies the 
whole of life, being returned into its principle, and 
coming into the consciousness of a vision at once 
powerful and sublime. Thus Crito, of the same school : 
God so fashioned man as to comprehend the Good 
according to right reason, and gave him a sight called 
Intellect, which is capable of beholding God. For it 
is not possible without God to discern that' which is 
best or most beautiful ; nor without Intellect to see 

^ See the Fragment given by Taylor in liis ^aniblicu.s' Life of 

The True Subject. 161 

God. And every mortal nature is established {in this 
life) with a kindred privation of Intellect ; this how- 
ever is not deprived by God but by the essence of gene- 

The term Intellect, as it is here taken in its highest 
sense, is synonymous with Wisdom, and bears the same 
relation to our Intellectual Law as does this to the 
reasoning faculty, being the self-evident antecedent 
and end of its inquiry, which, according to these phi- 
losophers, is God. Pythagoras himself defined Wisdom 
as the science of truth which is in all beings ;^ and 
y/amblicus in his life of this Samian, speaking of Wis- 
dom, says that it is truly a science which is convers- 
ant with the first and most beautiful objects (i. e., the 
Divine Exemplars), and these undecaying, possessing 
invariable sameness of subsistence; by the participation 
of which other things also may be called beautiful.'' 
Proclus, Porphyry, the graceful Plotinus, and othei's 
of the Neoplatonists, too numerous to mention, dilate 
on the same asserted ground ; and there is, according 
to all these philosophers, a Principle of Universal Science 
latent in human life, real and efficacious^ though cog- 
nizable only under certain conditions which they spe- 
cify, and wherein reason becomes alone into the sub- 
stantive experience of her Law. 

This is that which the Egyptians, industrious search- 
ers of Nature, proclaimed upon their temples' front, 
that Man should know himself: and this advice was 
meant experimentally and ontologically, though mo- 
dern fancy has slighted it and taken every Ethnic fable 
and m}i:hology in a profane sense. And here we are 
reminded of a difficulty in endeavouring to make these 
positions respecting the nature of true Being obvious 
and of drawing them into a form related to sensible 
intelligence. Every science is difficult to treat of to 
the uninitiated mind, and this kind of speculation 

1 See the Fragment in Jamblicus' Life of Pythagoras, by Taylor, _jU 
page 248. 

2 Idem, chap. xxix. 
•'' Idem, chap. ii. 


162 More Esoteric View. 

more particularly is irrelevant to many and naturally 
abstruse. Those to whom nature has granted such a 
ray of experience in the inner life as would otherwise 
appear favourable to a more profound investigation, 
are often indifferent to the rational ground, and remain 
accordingly satisfied in the dreams and deluding visions 
of an included imagination ; others more awakened to 
reason on the other hand, but in whom the spirit of 
inquiry is wholly drawn to externals, disregard as vain 
every proposition that does not immediately address 
the senses or pander to some apparent individual in- 
terest ; even the most reflective and educated class 
have rare inducements in these days, or permission of 
leisure sufficient to prosecute studies of an abstract 
nature. But we have adverted to the independent 
evidence of Universals in the human intellect by way 
of introduction chiefly, not on their own account ab- 
stractly considered, or so much because the ancients 
rested their proofs of internal science thereon ; ])ut 
because, having once derived a rational ground of pos- 
sibility, we may be better enabled to proceed with the 
tradition of the Hermetic mystery and more tangible 
effects. , 

jy The doctrine of the Hebrew ^abalists is one of 

absolute Idealism; the whole world was before their 
eyes as an efflux of Mind, an emanation of the great 
superstantial Law of Light ; and that sublime Com- 
mentary the Liber Zohar, beams with the revelation of 
the celestial prototype in humanity ; and kindling 
into reminiscence the fire which burns covertly 
throughout Holy Writ, addresses the Pentateuch to 
the understanding of mankind. 

These Rabbis explain that in pursuance of a certain 
arcane (though not wholly inexplicable) necessity, crea- 
tion falls away always for the sake of individual mani- 
festation, from the consciousness of its primal source ; 
that the principle of re-union nevertheless abides in the 
generated life of individuals and will in process of time 
operate to a restitution and higher perfection than 
could have been accomplished if such a fall into this 

The True Subject. 163 

existence had not taken place. Treating of and inter- 
preting as divine symbols, the relations of the Old 
Testament, they dignity vastly the view of the whole 
scheme ; and placing reason over the head of authority, 
and inciting man to self- inquiry as the foundation and 
comprehending identity of every other, they unite in 
one beautiful system the Religion of Intellect with the 
Philosophy of Life. 

But it is above all by the supreme position which 
^ they assign to man in the scale of creation that these 
/v )^abalists arrest attention. The Form of man, says 
the Rabbi Ben Jochai, contains all that is in heaven 
and earth — no form, no world, could exist before the 
human prototype ; for all things subsist by and in it : 
without it there would be no world, and in this sense we 
are to understand these words. The FAeruat has founded 
the earth upon his wisdom. But we must distinguish 
the true man from him who is here apparent, for the 
one could not exist without the other ; on that form 
in man, which is the Celestial Prototype, rests the 
perfection of faith in all things, and it is in this re- 
spect that man is said to be the image of God.^ For 
there is a wide difference between the idols of the hu- 
man imagination and the ideas of the divine mind, 
between man as he is here known, the individualized 
multiplication of a blind will, and that Motive Reason 
which is his life. And all this would appear less ex- 
travagant, perhaps, and impractical, if, instead of 
measuring the surfaces of things, we were to consider 
principles ; if, instead of separating our shrunken un- 
derstanding to contemplate and compare with the 
structure of this vast universe, we were to reflect con- 
trariwise upon that wonderful existence which we share 
in common with all and which is at the basis of every 
specifical living thing. For there is no reason why 
man, in that he exists and contains, therefore, within 
himself the total Cause of existence, should not, if 
the revelation only were allowed, perceive and under- 
stand all, in that all-continental All which is in him- 

^ Zohar, part i. fol. 191, recto ; part iii. 114, recto. 
M 2 

164 More Esoteric View. 

self. There is a freedom, and explanatory breadth 
too, in these writers that does not bear the impress of 
mere fancy, with a solemn earnestness of style that 
breathes only from conviction. That we cannot easily 
apprehend the magnitude of their doctrine is no proof 
that it is untrue ; common sense is no criterion in 
such a case and its objections fail before the inference 
of reason and supporting experience. 

God dwells, says the Jew Philo, in the rational 
part of man as in a palace ; the palace and temple of 
the great self-existent Deity is the intellectual portion 
of a man of Wisdom ; the Deity could never find 
upon earth a more excellent temple than the rational 
part of man.^ And again, — the Logos, by whom the 
world was fi-amed, is the seal after the impression of 
which everything is made and is rendered the simili- 
tude and image of the perfect Word of God ; and the 
soul of man is an impression of this seal of which the 
prototype and original characteristic is the everlasting 
Locros.^ And what is Wisdom according to the ancient 
Hermes ? Even the good, the fair, and the blessed 
Eternity ; look upon all things through it, and the 
world is subject to thy sight. For this Mind in men 
is God, and, therefore, are some men said to be divine, 
for there humanity is annexed to divinity ;'^ when it is 
moved into the catholic Intuition of its Source. 

Such then was Wisdom, and that high Intelligible 
which it behoves man to search after, the one theme 
and bulwark of ancient science, which no historical 
teaching or observance of the accidents of nature 
could realise or improve — namely, the standard of 
truth in a rectified intellect. And philosophy was a 
desire of this kind, an appetition of reason for its an- 
tecedent light ; and if we may believe these sublime 
enthusiasts, Intellect does not extend herself towards 

J De Pra>miis et Pcenis, vol. ii. p. 428, 1. 10, 12. De Nobilitato, 
p. 437. 

2 De Profugi.s, vol. i. p. 510, 1. 49. Dc Plantationc Noe, p. 
332, 1. 31. 

^ See The Divine Pimamler. 

The True Subject. 165 

the intelligible Cause in vain. Quotation were end- 
less, and enough may recur to the memory of those 
who do not yet despair of philosophy, or limit their 
faith to the slow evidence of the senses and double 
ignorance of these days. 

Or, if any one should further doubt of this Wis- 
dom, seeing she did not reveal herself in common 
arts and sciences of more recent human invention, and 
regard the whole as an abstract creature of the imagi- 
nation, he will err from the ancient tradition, which 
makes Wisdom, however far removed from sensibles, 
to be no inessential thing; but an affirmative opera- 
tive hypostasis, informing, invigorating, and sustain- 
ing all things ; in the words of the Stagyrite before 
cited, — It is essentially, the most essential of that which 
is most essential. — But Solomon, better than all and 
most beautifully in his panegyric, describes her : Wis- 
dom, says the wise king, is more moving than any 
motion, she passeth through all things by reason of 
her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of 
God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of 
the Almighty ; therefore, can no defiled thing fall into 
her ; for she is the brightness of the everlasting hght, 
the unspotted mirror of the powder of God, and the 
image of his goodness. And, being but One, she can 
do all things, and, remaining in herself, she maketh 
all things new ; and in all ages entering into holy 
souls, she maketh them friends of God and prophets, 
for God loveth none but him that dwelleth with Wis- 
dom; for she is more beautiful than the sun and above 
all the order of the stars ; being compared with the 
light, she is found before it, for after this cometh 
night ; but vice shall not prevail against Wisdom ; and 
if riches be a possession to be desired in this life, what 
is richer than Wisdom which worketh all things ? for 
she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God 
and a lover of His works. ^ 

Assuredly, then, is it not our duty and best interest 

^ Wisdom of Solomon, cliap. vii. 

166 More Esoteric View. 

to learn the way, and seek to know every condition of 
this proffered alliance, since we are not destitute either 
of rational ground or precedent, nor is this the only 
place in Scripture where we have a promise with Wis- 
dom of more substantial fruits? But as w^e observe 
the outer man to be unbelieving by nature and unpro- 
mising for much discoveiy, with his senses and servile 
intellect all dark within, we leave him here to work 
with his own instruments on his own ground ; there 
to calcine, weigh, and measure circumferences, from 
the first to the last round of material possibility ; per- 
chance then, when all has been tried and found want- 
ing to his reason, extremes coalescing, we may meet 

Meanwhile we, who look directly onward to pene- 
trate this mystery, seek not at random any longer in 
the outer world where so many before have foundered, 
albeit extracting their life's blood, and calling the 
mumial vapour and every element to their aid ; but we 
look within, or rather, that we may learn how to do so, 
inquire of the wise ancients to direct us about the true 
method and conditions of Self- Knowledge. For it is 
this, no common trance or day-dream, or any fanati- 
cal vision of celestials, that we propose to scruti- 
nize ; but true psychical experience, cathohc, even as 
the basis of that Law by which we reason, feel, and are 
one, uniformly living and alike all. 

It is into the substantiality of this and for its 
practical evolution that we must inquire, if w^e 
would discover the true Light of Alchemy ; and 
the Alchemists, as we have seen, propose such a 
reducation of nature as shall discover this Latex 
without destroying her vehicle, but the modal life 
only ; and profess that this has not alone been 
proved possible, but that man, by rationally condi- 
tionating, has succeeded in developing into action the 
Recreative Force. But the w^ay they do not so clearly 
shew, or where nature may be addressed in order to 
the rejection of her superfluous forms ; what was their 
immediate efficient ? whence and whereon did they 

The True Subject. 167 

direct their fire ? These things, with the laboratory, 
its vessels and various apparatus, they have disguised, 
as we have already shown, and as a natural conse- 
quence, by an incurious world have been misappre- 
hended and despised. For as Geber, with his usual 
point, observes, men have thought the confection of 
gold impossible, because they have not known the ar- 
tificial destruction according to the course of nature ; 
they have proved it to be of a strong composition, but 
of how strong a composition they have not proven. 

And all this because they knew not the verity 
Of altitude, latitude, and of profundity.^ 

For how should they, who have never glanced even 
in imagination towards the Causal Truth, believe in any 
other than remote effects ? The well out of which she 
is drawn is deep, and not therefore to be fathomed by 
the plummet of a shallow reason ; he must ascend in 
thought who would, descending, hope to penetrate so 
far as to the superstantial experience of things. For 
there it is yet hidden, the true light shut up as in a 
prison, the fountain of Universal Nature separated off 
from human understanding by the external attraction 
of it through the gates of sense. 

When the soul is situated in the body, says the 
philosopher, she departs from self-contemplation, and 
speaks of the concerns of an external life ; but, be- 
coming purified from body, will recollect all those 
things, the remembrance of which she loses in the 
present hfe;^ and Plutarch, who was well initiated in 
these mysteries, says, the souls of men are not able 
to participate of the Divine nature whilst they are 
thus encompassed about with senses and passions, any 
further than by obscure gUmmerings, and as it were, 
in comparison, a confused dream. But when they are 
freed from these impediments and removed into purer 
regions, which are neither discernible by the corporeal 

^ Invest, of Perf. cap. iii. Eussel's Geber. Bloomfield's Camp 
of Philosophy, v. 27. 

- Plotinus' Select "Works ; Taylor, page 387, &c. 

168 More Esoteric View. 

senses nor liable to accidents of any kind, it is then 
that God becomes their leader — upon Him they 
wholly depend, beholding without satiety, and still ar- 
dently longing after that beauty which it is impossible 
for man sufficiently to express or think — that beauty 
which, according to the old mythology, Isis has so 
great an affection for, and which she is constantly in 
pursuit of, and from whose enjoyment every variety of 
good things with which the universe is filled, is re- 
plenished, and propagated.^ And again, in the open- 
ing of the same admirable Treatise, he observes, that 
to desire and covet after the Truth is to aspire to be 
a partaker of the Divine Nature itself; and to profess 
that all our studies and inquiries are devoted to the 
acquisition of holiness ; the end of which, as of all 
ceremonial rites and disciplines, was that the aspirant 
might be prepared and fitted for the attainment of the 
knowledge of the Supreme Mind, whom the goddess 
exhorts them to search after. For this Reason is her 
temple wherein the Eternal Self-exislent dwells, and 
may there hejinally approached, but with due solemnity, 
and sanctity of life. 

But Psellus, in his luminous commentary on the 
Chaldaic Oracles, further declares that there is no 
other means of strengthening the vehicle of the soul 
but by Material Rites ; and Plato, in the first Alcibiades, 
calls the magic of Zoroaster the service of the gods ; 
and the use of this magic, in the words of the above 
Psellus, is as follows : — To initiate or perfect the hu- 
man soul by the power of materials here on earth ; for 
the supreme faculty of the soul cannot by its oiun guid- 
ance aspire to the sublimest institution, and to the com- 
prehension of Divinity : but the work of Piety leads it 
by the liand to God, by illumination from thence. 

Synesius, likewise, in his 'J)'ealise on Providence, 
bears witness to the efficacy of Divine Works ; and the 
Emperor Julian, in those arguments of his preserved 
by Cyril, shows that without such assistance the Di- 

' De Iside et Osiride. 

The True Subject. 169 

vine union is neither effected nor rightly understood : 
and all the accounts we read of the Eleusinian Mys- 
teries, in addition to the witness of these philosophers, 
confirms that Wisdom was the offspring of a vital ex- 
periment into nature, by certain arts and media pro- 
ducing the central efficient into conscious being and 
effect. If you investigate rightly, says Archytas, dis- 
covery will be easy to you ; but if you do not know 
hoiv to investigate, discovery will be impossible. 

It is the more to be regretted and wondered at, on 
account of the importance attached to this discovery, 
that the Initiated were so profoundly silent upon these 
means ; since mankind in general would seem to have 
been precisely in this predicament, they have not 
knoan how to investigate ; and were it not for these 
scattered innuendoes and acknowledgments of an Art, 
we might well continue in ignorance to despair of their 
hidden ground : at all events, seeing how far we fall 
short of the perception in this life ; either believing, we 
might regard the ancients as beings superiorly en- 
dowed ; or otherwise disbelieving, deny, as many have 
done, the validity of their assertions. Yet as the case 
now stands involved in mystery, will it not be unjust 
to do either ? For, being ignorant of the method, how 
should we presume to test the truth of this philoso- 
phy? Equally, also, will it not be incurious to yield 
an implicit faith? Let us inquire now, therefore, if 
fortunately a ray of light be left to guide us, whether 
it be possible to approach to a recollection of this an- 
cient experiment, that we may become better judges 
of its merits ; and lest gaining nothing by a tacit as- 
sent, and pro\dng nothing by mere scepticism, we 
should deny something, and bolt ourselves continu- 
ously out from the sanctuary of truth in nature. 

And here we would engage the reader's attention 
for a brief interval, (weighing well the substance of 
philosophical assertion against modern pride and our 
growing indifference,) to consider the ground of this 
Hermetic mystery, and whether there be still an en- 
trance open, as there was once said to be, to the shut 

170 More Esoteric View. 

palaces of Mind. Let us descend into ourselves, and 
believe in ourselves if we be able, that that which we 
are is worthy our investigation ; and we may discover, 
as we proceed, by their traditional light unfolding it, 
that the Wisdom of the ancients was not the outward, 
adventitious acquisition or vain display which it has 
been supposed to be, but a very real, substantial, and 
attainable good. 

A spontaneous revelation of truth, if it was ever 
indeed enjoyed at all without experimental research, 
after the Hebrews ceased ; nor was it longer possible 
for all, nor at every time, to partake the Divine com- 
munion. This, therefore, as the Platonic Successor 
remarks, our philanthropic lord and father, Jupiter, 
understanding, that we might not be deprived of all 
communication with the gods, has given us observa- 
tion through Sacred Arts, by which we have at Hand 
sufficient assistance.^ 

Here, then, we take up our clue to w^eave onward 
as we proceed, unraveUing the Mysteries by their 
traditional light. The objects encountering this re- 
search may, as we before said, be appaUing to some, 
nugatory to others, and, at first view, too opposed 
we fear to the opinions of all ; but if, by chance, a less 
oblivious soul or intellect, more allied than ordinary 
to antecedent realities, should find familiar scenes re- 
cur, thriUing into reminiscence, as of some long past 
life forgotten ; let such a one believe, and his faith will 
not betray him, the road w^hereon we are journeying is 
towards his Native Land. 

^ See /amblicus on the Mysteries ; Taylor's Notes at the end, 
page 347 ; the Greek extract from Julian's Arguments. 

The Mysteries. 171 


Of the Mysteries. 

The patli by wliich to Deity we climb 

Is arduous, rough, ineffable, sublime ; 

And the strong massy gates thro' which we pass, 

In our first course, are bound with chains of brass ; 

Those men, the first who of Egyptian birth, 

Drank the fair water of Nilotic earth, 

Disclosed by actions infinite this road, 

And many paths to God Phoenicians showed ; 

This road the Assyrians pointed out to view, 

And this the Lydians and Chaldeans knew. 

Oracle of Apollo, from Eusehius. 

WE have shown in our history that the Greeks were 
not ignorant of the Hermetic Art, which they 
borrowed with their metaphysics (so far indeed as 
such things may be borrowed which pertain to reason) 
from the Egyptians and Persians, whose temples were 
visited by nearly every philosopher of note. 

Now the Egyptian, that is the Hermetic Art, or Art 
of Divine works, was by the Greeks called Theurgy ; 
and was extensively practised at Eleusis, and more or , / 

less m allihg temples of their Gods. On no subject /^v' CrL^^^iA. 
has more difference of opinion arisen amongst the 
learned : the high veneration in which the Mysteries 
were held, the intellectual enthusiasm with which the 
Alexandrians speak of them, the philosophic explana- 
tions given in detail by Jamblicus and others, concern- 
ing the motive and divine nature of the initiatory rites 
and the spectacles they procured, have puzzled many 
inquirers who, unable in latter times to account ra- 
tionally, have disposed of the greater part as a pan- 
tomymic show, sanctified by priestly artifice and ex- 
aggerated by a wild imagination, natural as it has been 
supposed to those Ethnic souls. But then the Fathers 

I ytoL- 


172 More Esoteric View. 

of our Church, what frenzy should have possessed 
them, that St. Augustin, Cyrillus, Synesius and the 
rest, should imitate their follies, transferring the very 
language, disciplines, and rites of those " odious mys- 
teries," to their own ceremonial worship as Christians, 
and that Clemens Alexandrinus should call them 
"blessed?" This has seemed extraordinary, and the 
authorities have been quoted and requoted and turned 
in many various ways by modern writers, each to the 
support of his own peculiar view or modification, often, 
as may be imagined, at variance with the original sense 
in context. 

Warburton's bias is negative and singularly mislead- 
ing ; he regarded the whole scheme of the Mysteries 
as a political fraud, came to the conclusion that the 
gods were dead men deified, and that the greater mys- 
teries were instituted solely with a view to nullify the 
lesser.^ But, as is natural, he who so shamelessly 
charged others with a base expediency, quickly ceased 
to be respected as an authority himself, and his notions 
are accordingly quite obsolete. Sainte Croix, whose 
researches are otherwise the most complete, sets all in 
an astronomical and eminently superficial aspect.^ 
e-^-vey Gebelin and La Planche see all with vacant agricul- 
tural eyes;^ whilst the author of" Antiquity Unv^eiled," 
notwithstanding so much learning to his aid, has found 
out only the foolishness of the ancients, and thinks 
that the mysteries should be regarded as a depository 
of the religious melancholy of the first men.^ Every 
trifling interpretation in short has been given, and 
everything imputed to the Mysteries except a discovery 
of the Wisdom which they professed. For although 
some with superior mind^, as Thomas Taylor for ex- 
ample, have examined philosophically ; yet from lack 
of evidence, and being without a guide from anything 
analogous in modern times, "^ too dispose^ of them as 

^ See the Divine Legation, vol. i. 

2 Sainte Croix des Myst^-res, 2 vols. 8vo. 

3 Gebelin, Monde Primitif. La rianchc des Cieux. 
'* L'Antiquite devoilee par ses Usages, &c. 


The Mysteries. 173 

immaterial ceremonies, representations at best of ab- 
stract philosophic truths.^ a^ 

Now this and all such, like- the foregoing opinions, <^4 

are discordant to our apprehension, and injurious to 
the spirit of Antiquity, which not alone upholds philo- 
sophy, that is to say, Ontological Wisdom, as the true 
object of initiation, but represents the rites themselves 
as really efficacious to procure it. As the Platonists 
and Psellus, before cited to the point, distinctly declare, 
and Cicero, "fett they were truly called hdtia, for they ^ 
were the beginning of a life of reason and virtue ; 
whence men not only derived a better subsistence here, 
as being drawn fi'om an irrational and brutal life, bat 
were led on to hope and aspire for a more blessed im- 
mortality hereafter.^ 

Nor did the ancients promise this indiscriminately, 
but to those who were initiated in the Greater Mys- 
teries only, as the Pythagoreans and Plato in Pluedo 
assert that by such means an assimilation was in- 
duced, and final contact w^ith the object of rational 
inquiry, which is that identity whence, as a principle, — 

we make our first descent. But y^ambHcus more par- _/^ 
ticularly explains that it was by arts divinely potent, 
and not by theoretic contemplation only or by mere 
doctrinal faith or representations either of reality ; but 
by certain ineffable and sublime media that Theurgists 
became cognizant partakers in the Wisdom of true q 
Being. ^ Jmik Heraclitus calls these uKet, medicines, as ^ 
being the help and remedy of imperfect souls ; they 
possessed a power of healing the body likewise, which 
was extensively practised in the temples of Esculapius 
with various minor physico-magical arts. But phi- 
losophy, according to Strabo, was the object of the 
Eleusinian rites, and without the initiations of Bacchus 
and Ceres, he considers the most important branch of 
human knowledge would never have been attained. 
Servius, commenting on Virgil, observes that the sacred 

^ Dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries. 
-^ ^ De Legibus, lib. ii. cap. xiv. 

/ -^ /^amblicns on the Mysteries ; Taylor, p. 109. 


174 More Esoteric View. 

rites of Bacchus pertained to the purification of souls. 
Liberi patris sacra ad purgationem aniniarum per- 
tinebant ; and again, Anim-ae acre ventilantur, quod erat 
in sacris Liberi purgationis genus. — The Greeks con- 
ceived that the welfare of the states was moreover 
secured by these celebrations, and the records refer to 
them as bestowing that of which human nature stands 
principally in need, viz., moral enlightenment and pu- 
riti cation of life ; without the revelation and support 
afforded by them, indeed, existence was esteemed no 
better than a hving death ; the tragedians echoing the 
sense of the people made the chief felicity to consist 
therein, as Euripides, by Hercules says, — I was blessed 
when I got a sight of the mysteries ; — and in Bacchis, 
O blessed and happy he who knowing the mysteries 
of the gods, sanctifies his life, celebrating orgies in the 
mountains with holy purifications. And Sophocles, to 
the same purport, — Life only is to be had there, all other 
places are full of misery and evil.^ 1^ ^le doctrine 
of the Greater Mysteries, says Clemens Alexandrinus, 
related to the whole universe ; here all instruction 
ended ; nature and all things she contains were un- 
veiled ; — O mysteries truly sacred, O pure light ! at 
the light of torches the veil that covers deity and 
heaven falls off. I am holy now that I am initiated ; 
it is the Lord himself who is the hierophanta ; he sets 
his seal upon the adept whom he illuminates with his 
beams; and whom, as a recompense for his faith, he 
will recommend to the eternal love of the Father. 
These are the orgies of the Mysteries, concludes the 
bishop, in pious transport, come ye and be initiated. 
But the usage of the church was not to discover its 
mysteries to the profane, especially those that relate to 
the final apotheosis. It is even unwilling to speak of 
them to the Catechumens, says St. Cyrillus, except in 
obscure terms, in such a manner, however, as that the 
faithful who are initiated may comprehend, and the 

^ See Praetextus, Hist. Nov. lib. iv. Divine Legation, vol. i. p. 
198. De Septchenes, chap. ii. p. 174, &c. 


The Mysteries. 175 

rest be discouraged. For by these enigmas the Dagon 
is overthrown.^ 

There was undoubtedly a secret hanging about these 
celebrations, both Ethnic and Christian, which no 
record has divulged or common sense literally suc- 
ceeded to explain away ; the belief in providence and 
a future state were freely promulgated, and ordinary ^ - ^ . 
^o»^ worship apart, with whk A these mysteries^ ought not ttJt.^ccrK'.c/x 
by any means to be confounded ; since that might ^ 

indeed be perpetuated anywhere, and has been with- 
out essentially changing the estate of life. 

Previous, however, to more fully entering, we are 
desirous to observe that a few writers on Animal 
Magnetism, having within these few years become 
enlightened by that singular discovery, suggest their 
Trance and its phenomena as a revelation of the temple 
mysteries and various rehgious rites. But no one, 
that we are aware, has developed his suggestion or 
carried the idea sufficiently above the therapeutic 
sphere ; they appear to have taken a broad view, with- 
out particular inquiry into the nature of their rites 
from the ancients themselves. Had they done this, 
(we speak of the more advanced minds,) we are per- 
suaded that with that key in hand, their attention 
would have been drawn in new directions, and their 
satisfaction about the modern use of it become much 
modified by observing the far superior results which, 
through their Theurgic disciplines, the ancients aspired 
after, different too, as they were superior to any that 
we are accustomed to imagine even at the present 

The ordinary effects of Animal Magnetism, or Mes- 
merism, or Vital Magnetism, or by whatever other term 
the unknown agency is better expressed, are now so 
familiarly known in practice that it will be unnecessary 
to describe them ; they have attracted the attention of 
the best and most advanced minds of the present age, 
who have hailed with admiration a discovery which 

^ See the extracts rendered by De SeptcheBes, in his Religion 
of the Greeks, chap. ii. from Meursius, Eleusinea et Cecropia. 


176 More Esoteric View. 

enables man to alleviate pain and maladies insur- 
mountable by other means, and by benevolent dispo- 
sition of his proper vitahty, acting in accord, to restore 
health and equilibriate repose to his suffering fellow 
creatures. And thus it is true we can lull the senses, 
cure the sick, sometimes too restore the blind and deaf 
to hearing, sight, and utterance ; and it is a glorious 
step in progress, cheering and hopeful, a blessing on 
our mortal suffering state. But are we to halt here 
always, or how long ? The ordinary phenomena of 
lucidity, pre^nsion, community of sense, will, and 
thought, have long been familiar and might have in- 
stigated to more important discovery ; but years have 
passed, and the science has not grown, but retro- 
graded rather in interest and power, since De Main- 
apduc Puysegur, Colhoun , Elliotson, Dupotet and the 
"rest, faithful spirits, first set their fellow-men on the 
road of inquiry. 

But the best effects of Mesmerism, if we connect it 
with the ancients' Sacred Art, appear as trifles in com- 
parison ; the Supreme Wisdom they investigated, the 
Self- Knowledge and perfection of life and immortality 
promised and said to be bestowed on those initiated in 
the higher Mysteries, ^hat has Mesmerism to do with 
these things ? What wisdom does it unfold ? What 
is its philosophy, or has it yet made an attempt luMully e^i^^/r\^ 
to investigate the subject-being, the cause of its own 
effects ? In common arts, the ingenuity is set to work 
how it may advance and adapt them to the best ad- 
vantage; new capabilities are discovered which, put in 
action, often prove the fi'uitful source of more ; whereas 
Mesmerism, dwelling altogether in the ]wact'ice (the same 
which from the first unfolded nature as far as it was 
able), continues to run on with her in the same com- 
mon-place round. Our sleepwakers are little better 
than dreamers, for the most part, or resemble children 
born into a new world, without a guide, unable of 
themselves to educate their latent faculties, or discri- 
minate truth from falsehood in their revelations. And, 
as respects the Universal Medium, they even, who be- 

The Mysteries. 177 

Heve in such a thing, take it as it presents itself 
naturally, having no knowledge of the capabihties or 
means of improvement, whither it is able to ascend or 
descend, or w^hat is its right determination. The few 
experimental tests that have been instituted hitherto 
prove nothing but to identify the same " Impon- 
derable" through all; and if we make trial of the 
Spirit's instincts, asking for revelations of prophecy 
and distant scenes or journeyings through the air,-and 
they follow^ us, those patients of our will, we then go 
out fi'om them to philosophize, or wonder, or to think 
no more about it, as the case may be ; repeating the 
same mechanical operations, and witnessing similar 
effects continually over again, until at length the en- 
thusiasm which early characterized the novelty and 
raised expectation about it, has very generally and 
naturally died away. 

Now this, according to our gatherings, was not the 
sort of investigation that the ancients followed in their 
Mysteries ; although working in the same material 
and with similar instruments, on the same ground, 
yet their practice w^as different ; for it was conducted 
upon established principles and with a truly philo- 
sophic as well as benevolent aim. Theurgists, indeed, 
condemn the Spirit of the natural life as degraded and 
incapable of true intelligence, nor did they therefore 
value the revelations of its first included sphere ; but 
proceeded at once, passing these, as it appears, in the 
Lesser Mysteries, to dissolve the medium more entirely; 
and, as they knew how, to segregate the Vital Spirit 
away from those defilements and imaginative im- 
pressures which, by the birth into sense, had become 
implanted there, obscuring its intelligence and that 
divine eye which, as Plato says, is better worth than 
ten thousand corporeal eyes ; for by looking through 
this alone, when it is purified and strengthened by 
appropriate aids, the truth pertaining to all beings is 
perceived . 

The Neoplatonists wrote largely of the Theurgical 
art ; many are quoted by St. Augustine and his cotem- 


178 More Esoteric View. 

poraries which ai'c not transmitted, but were destroyed 
/ probably through the seetarian maHce and short- 
sighted poHcy of the^Roman government, which toler- 
ated nothing but luxury and arms. Yet sufficient 
remains to e\dnce the nature of the Mysteries, since, 
besides those before named — Plotinus, Proclus, Por- 
7" phyry, Synesius, and Jambhcus especially — all refer to 
" them, declaring also the objects and revelations. And 

in what the disease of the Spirit consists, and from 
what cause it falsities and is dulled, and how it becomes 
clarified and defecated, and restored to its innate 
simplicity, may be learned in part from their philo- 
sophy ; for by the lustrations in the Mysteries, as they 
describe, the soul becomes liberated and passes into a 
divine condition of being. 

Synesius writes appositely on the early disciplines, 
showing the phantastical condition also of the natural 
understanding essence, before it is purified by art and 
exalted. This Etherial Spirit, he says, is situated on 
the confines of the rational and brutal life, and is of a 
corporeal and incorporeal degree ; and it is the medium 
which conjoins divine natures with the lowest of all. 
And nature extends the latitude of a phantastic essence 
through every condition of things ; it descends to ani- 
mals in whom intellect is not present ; in this case, 
however, it is not the understanding of a divine part 
(as in man it ought to be) but becomes the reason of 
the animal with which it is connected, and is the occa- 
sion of its acting with much wisdom and propriety. 
And it is obvious, he continues, that many of the 
energies of the human life consist from this nature, 
or if from something else (/ e. to say, from reason), 
yet this prevails most ; for we are not accustomed to 
cogitate without imagination, unless, indeed, some one 
should on a sudden be enabled to pass into contact 
with an intelligible essence.^ 

That is into the identical apperception of true being ; 
which is not possible under the ordinary conditions of 

' See Taylor's Proclus on Euclid, tlie extract from Synesius, 
vol. ii. 

The Mysteries. 179 

thought in this Hfe ; but reason is always more or less 
debilitated in its energies by the habitual dependence 
on sense for data and objective proof, and by that 
modal consciousness which prevents from transcending 
it. Nor is this the only barrier, since when freed from 
the encumbrance of the senses temporarily, when in a 
state of trance they are quiescent, their impressure 
yet remains, and, as Synesius says, a false imagination, 
which it is requisite to destroy, as well as to banish all 
influxions from without, before the understanding 
spirit can superinduce Divinity. 

It is well known that Pythagoras instituted long pre- 
parations and ordeals to train the minds of his disci- 
ples, previously to admitting them into the deeper 
mysteries of his school ; and his biographer relates how, 
by divine arts and media, he healed and purified the 
souls of his followers, and that by constantly holding 
them allied to a certain precedential good, their lives 
were preserved in continual harmony and converse 
with the highest causes. But dense thickets, which -7- 

are full of briers, saySy/amblicus, surround the intel- _/ 
lect and heart of those who have not been purely 
initiated, and obscure the mild and tranquil reason- 
ing power, and openly impede the intellective part 
from becoming increased and elevated : and again, 
— It may be well to consider the length of time 
that we consumed in wiping away the stains which had 
insinuated themselves into our breasts, till, after the / 
lapse of some years, we became fit recipients for the /^. 
doctrines of Pythagoras ; for as dyers previously purify / 

garments, and then fix in the colours with which they 
wish them to be imbued in order that the dye may 
not be evanescent, after the same manner also that 
divine man prepared the souls of those that are lovers 
of Wisdom. For he did not impart specious doctrines 
or a snare, but he possessed a scientific knowledge of 
things human and divine.' 

The Egyptian Olympiodorus also speaks of the 

/ 1 /aniblicua' Life of Pythagoras, chap, xvi., xvii. 

^ ' N 2 

180 More Esoteric View. 

natural imperfection of the human understanding, and 
how far its conceptions are adverse to divine illumina- 
tion. The jDhantasy, says he, is an impediment to 
our intellectual conception ; hence, when we are agi- 
tated by the inspiring influence of divinity, and the 
phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases ; 
for enthusiasm and the phantasy are contrary to each 
other. Should it be asked whether the soul is able to 
energize without the phantasy, we reply, that the per- 
ception of Univei sals proves that it is able} 

As a rational promise to this life of a higher reality, 
the subsistence of these Universals cannot be too 
often or too distinctly brought to mind ; for not only 
do they reveal in us a necessity of Being beyond pre- 
sent experience, but, adumbrating, as it were, their an- 
tecedent light, assist much, if perspicuously beheld, 
^J . to introduce the idea of that consummate Wisdom, 

U\...t^ wherein tho ' oamc reason, becoming passive, receives 

the substance of her whole. And the ancients glow- 
ingly describe the truth so conceived as an unques- 
tionable experience ; one and the same in all, where _ 
difference is merged in objective union. And /amb- Z 
licus moreover asserts, that Thcurgic rites conspiring 
to this end were scientifically disposed and early de- 
fined by intellectual canons ; neither is it lawful to 
consider these canons as mutable, since they are the 
natural faith of hfe, and alone of all creeds catholic 
and independent. 

But to transcend the sensible life in rational energy 
permanently apart is described as not less difficult 
than fortunate to attain ; hence Plato appropriates the 
possession of Wisdom to old age, signifying by this in- 
intellect divining intuitively without imaginative error ; 
a Wisdom such as is not worldly, since it by no means 
belongs to the common life of man, nor is to be 
hoped for at all, either in the early awakening of the 
life within ; but by a transition gradually effected by 
Art away from the profound stains of a baser affection, 

* See Porphyry's Aids to Intelligibles. Taylor, p. 207, note. 

The Mysteries. 181 

it is carried up through the love of truth by faith into 
vivid contact with its whole. 

And the extremity of all evil in this life consists, 
according to the ancients, in not perceiving the pre- 
sent evil and how much human nature stands in need 
of melioration ; and this is a part of that twofold ig- 
norance which Plato execrates, which being ignorant 
that it is ignorant has no desire to emerge, but may be 
compared to a body all over indurated by disease, 
which, being no longer tormented with pain, is nei- 
ther anxious to be cured. But he who lives in the 
consciousness of something better will meditate im- 
provement, and desire is the first requisite ; indeed, 
without desire on our part, art will labour for us in 
vain, since Will is the greatest part of purgation. And 
through the means of this, says Synesius, both our 
deeds and discourses extend their hands to assist us in 
our assent ; but this being taken away the soul is de- 
prived of every purifying machine because destitute of 
assent, which is the greatest pledge of reconcihation. 
Hence disciplines willingly endured become of far 
greater utility, whilst they oppose vexation to evil 
and banish the love of stupid pleasure from the soul. 

But the phantastic Spirit may be purified, even in 
brutes, continues this author, so that something 
better may be induced : how much will not the regres- 
sion of the rational soul be therefore base, if she 
neglects to restore that which is foreign to her nature, 
and leaves lingering upon earth that which rightly be- 
longs on high ? Since it is possible, bij labour and a 
transition into other lives, for the imaginative soul to 
be purijied and to emerge from this dark abode. And 
this rcstoratio)i indeed one or two may obtain as a gift 
of divinity and initiation. Then, indeed, the soul ac- 
quires fortitude with divine assistance, but it is no tri- 
fling contest to abrogate the confession and compact 
which she has made with sense. And in this case 
force will be employed, for the material inflictors will 
then be roused to vengeance, by the decrees of fate, 
against the rebels of her laws ; and this is what the 

182 More Esoteric View. 

Sacred Discourse testifies by the labours of Her- 
cules, and the dangers which he was required to en- 
dure, and which every one must experience who 
bravely contends for liberty, till the Understanding 
Spirit rises superior to the dominion of nature and is 
placed beyond the reach of her hands. ^ 

Hence, and from the foregoing evidence, it may 
have become probable that modern art has hitherto 
unfolded but a small and inferior part only of 
the Spirit's life ; nor has experience yet opened into 
those temptations and trials which the conscious- 
ness must necessarily pass through, all the while re- 
gressive, before it reaches into the central illumination 
of truth. Nor does anything occur to us more beau- 
tifully suggestive than the whole of the passage, from 
which we here gather, wherein Synesius describes not 
only the life that is operated upon and, in graceful 
terms, the artifice, but shows the conditions of desire 
and will, so indispensable for advancement, the la- 
bours and dangers likew^ise wdiich attend those wiio 
aspire to the upper gi'ades of Intellectual Science. 
And is it not true, as he remarks so far, we do lead 
for the most part a phantastic Hfe? Nor least they 
who least suspect it, for it is the shining of truth that 
makes this visible, as a cloud before her face. Are 
we not filled too with conceits and roving imaginations 
and idols, which we are evermore mistaking for the 
real good? Do we not abound in sects and dissen- 
sions, heresies and doubts, so that scarcely two are to 
be found agreeing on all points ? And the causes are 
obvious ; without a standard and sure foundation to 
build on, we judge, as we are only able, with the ru- 
dimentary faculties and senses that are born in us, and 
of all nature, as through a glass darkly. Tf, there- 

^ See Taylor's History of the Eestoration of the Platonic Phi- 
losophy ill vol. ii. of his Proclus on Euclid. Tliis Synesius was 
the Christian Platonist, Bisliop of Alexandria, before mentioned 
in the history ; one well experienced, according to his own ac- 
count, ill tlie Hermetic philosophy, and whose writings on the art 
of transjimtation liave in part descended to this day 

The Mysteries. 183 

fore, with this same iiiisunderstanding and infected 
Spirit, we enter in for the discovery and contemplation 
ot" ourselves, it will be useless ; we shall not there 
discern the true hypostasis, but err amongst the tur- 
bulent and shadowy impressures of this life's birth 
and sphere of accidents. Thus mingling with the soul 
of the universe, without purification or any distinc- 
tion of its light, our vehicle disports herself oftentimes 
in many mingling forms ; as it is with those who dream 
or make to themselves a fool's paradise with the drug- 
gist's gas ; since this, even impure as it is and full of 
folly, being of like nature with our life, coalesces ; 
and would, if allowed to persist, consume its ration- 
ality. And on this account we observe the ancients 
more particularly warn about the treatment of their 
Spirit, which, though of a higher birth and instinct (as 
we may observe in the comparison of mesmerized 
patients and those under the influence of chloroform 
or common tether,) and capable of so much higher, 
even as they say of the highest intelligence, yet in 
proportion may suffer also the most fearful degrada- 
tion. Accordingly if the will incline downwards, per- 
sisting to grovel, or evil agencies intervene, then, as 
the Sacred Discourse has it, the Spirit grows heavy 
and sinks into profound Hades. It is necessary that 
the mind, once seated in this Spirit, should either 
follow or draw or be drawn by it. Hence, if growing 
predominant in folly, she should cease to aspire, the 
whole identity, being submerged together, would be 
converted to her life. 

For is she not that very Sphinx of the Labyrinth, 
the devourer of strangers and all who have not the wit 
to unriddle her and know themselves? At all ev^ents, 
such is said to be the nature of the Phantastic Spirit 
before it is mundified, that he who enters so far as to 
be 'profoundly conscious in her essence, will be lost in 
irrational confusion, if he assume not quickly his intel- 
lectual energies and solve, that is comprehend, it on its 
own ground. For, if reason remains passive, this 
natm-e at length prevailing, will ravage and devastate 

184 More Esoteric View. 

and take possession of the whole mind, destroying its 
active energies and converting them to herself. Thus 
Jamblicus, speaking of this mundane spirit, says — it 
grows upon and fashions all the powers of the soul, 
exciting in opinion the illuminations from the senses, 
and fixes in that life which is extended fi'om body the 
impressions which descend from intellect. And Pro- 
clus, concerning the same nature, declares that — it folds 
itself about the indivisibility of true intellect (which is 
in its centre), conforms itself to all formless species, 
and becomes perfectly everything from which dianoia 
and our individual reason consist^. And, as it is com- 
monly observed to be a vain labour to infuse doctrine 
into a perplexed and turbid brain, or for a merely prac- 
tical unspeculative soul to judge of abstract propo- 
sitions ; just so, no doubt, the best constituted minds 
would be inadequate to self-inspection on their first 
entrance into life. For the Spirit understands the 
affections of the mind, and reflects its image as it is, 
whether good or evil. But the primary and proper 
vehicle of the mind, when it is in a wise and purified 
condition, is attenuated and clear seeing ; when how- 
ever the mind is sensually affected, then this vehicle 
is dulled and becomes terrene ; the instincts are said 
to be imperfect just in proportion as the perceptive 
medium is impure, and therefore it needs alteration 
and solution, as the Oracles teach, for the discernment 
of good and evil, and the proper choice of life. 

It is therefore that the Alchemists so much declaim 
against the vulgar Matter as it is at first made known, 
full of heterogeneous qualities and notions, as a sub- 
ject fallen from its sphere and defiled. Hence all 
those preparations, solutions, calcinations, &c., before 
it becomes to be the "Mercury of Philosophers" — 
pure, agile, intelligent, living — as they say, in her 
own sphere, as a queen upon her throne. — Aceipc - 
■ occultum --- arcanum quod — est — zes- nostrum ct lavQr > 
qnnd si t } »uru«i- et mundum> — Dcindc pone in va se 
■ nofetr e — eum s igillo — philoaophic o , — r cgimi« e- initiu m 
cot pcrfccta solutio . Take, says Albcrtus Magnus, 

The Mysteries. 185 

the occult sateve, which is our brass, and wash it CjAXBa^i'^JA ^ 
that it may be pure and clean, . . . The first rule 
of the work is a perfect solution.^ 

All which we understand with reference to the uni- 
versal Mundane Spirit, as it is at first consciously 
revealed in the recipient life of humanity ; which 
Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, calls passive intellect, 
because capable of receiving and being converted to 
all — the best or worst inclination, the highest truth or 
the most delusive imaginings — of manifesting motives 
in vital effects, and within certain limits of organizing 
even and transporting them. 

And this we take to be the identical agent which is 
spread abroad in the present day mesmerizing, the 
photogenic medium, our " New^ Imponderable," for it 
is the Common eoul ; also the subject-matter of the 
Alchemists aforesaid, when they call it a thing indif- 
ferent, abject, and exposed in all hands, moving here 
below in shadowy manifestation, invisibly and uncon- 
sciously converted to every will and various use. It 
is what the world cares not for, as the adept says, but 
disesteems it ; it hath it in its sight, carries it in its 
hands, yet is ignorant thereof; for it passeth away with 
a sudden pace without being known ; yet these trea- 
sures are the chiefest, and he that knows the Art, and 
the expressions, and hath the medium, will be richer 
than any other. ^ But, in its natural state, the micro- 
cosmic life is not dissimilar from the vitality of the 
greater world, which is included by respiration in the 
blood of all creatures, maintaining its perpetual pul- 
sation, as of the wind and waves, their flux and re- 
flux, supplying to all existence the food of life. And 
how much such a life is in need of melioration, how 
much it suffers and desires, and how far its benefi- . r / 

c^nce falls short of human hope and i d eality , may be CciMyO-iJf^ 
apparent, and, witltout more cv^ deee^, that in her ' 

Door-keeper, Isis is not revealed. 

1 Secret. Tract. Alberti, iu fine. Artis Aurifer??, p. 130, &c. 
^ Aquarium Sapient um, part ii. in fine. Vaughan's Coelum- 
Terree^ p. 80, &c. 

186 More Esoteric View. 

But so far we have yet advanced only to the gate of 
the great Labyrinth, where the Sphinx is even now pre- 
sent, rapidly propounding her dark riddles to the world, 
images of the obscure and intricate nature of the hu- 
man spirit ; which, by the devious windings, delusive 
attractions and simiHtudes of its own included sphere, 
leads imperceptibly, as it were, by an alluring grace, into 
that Hermetic wilderness and wdld of Magic in which so 
many adventurers have gone astray. This is the Mon- 
ster and the Eternal Riddle explained to common sense 
as suits it, but misunderstood to this day ; that Com- 
pound Simple and ground of the magians' elements — a 
thing so perplexedly treated of by them, and having 
about it such a latitude for sophistication, that it is al- 
most impossible to collect or unravel what has been 
said of it. Or how should reason attempt to define 
an essence all comprehending, yet separated in each 
particular, by so great an interval from itself? But 
this is that Augean Stable that was to be cleansed, 
that most famous labour of the philosophic Hercules ; 
nor the least of labours, to. turn the current of life 
into another channel, and purify the natural source. 

Close upon the revealment of the Medial Life then, 
as we take it, in order of the Mysteries followed the 
Purificative Rites, which were designed also to restore 
the monarchy of reason in the soul, and this not 
Q^^| either as an end so much, bu^preparatory to under- 
going the final initiations. We arc induced, however, 
to dwell longer on this first step, and on the necessity 
of intellectual preparation and auxiliaries ; because it 
may be objected, as we proceed to unfold the ultimate 
tradition of this Wisdom, that we have no valid wit- 
ness to our side ; that any individual may declare 
according to the revelations of his mind, and introduce 
a various imagination to the idea of truth ; that even 
supposing the mind included for a while and entirely 
free from outward impressions, still, retaining as it 
must the original bias, not only of sense but of birtli 
and education, its experience will be neither trust- 
worthy nor imi)ortant to this life : and then nothing 

The Mysteries. 187 

of a universal character, such as the ancients speak of, 
has been observed; or if asserted, how should it be 
ScoaczIjlj -fearfHy proved ? Reason in these days is not content 
1/ with affirmation; it will have objective response to its 
j faith ; all pretensions, therefore, to internal lights and 

1 revelations have ceased to attract the attention of 

mankind. And, again, it may be inquired why, if true 
Being is everywhere totally present, it is not so per- 
ceived ; and why all things partaking do not enjoy the 
light of the so-called superstantial world ? 

In reply to this last objection, we would ask if it be 
not because that very Light is drawn outwardly, and 
enchanted by sense ; that it is internally unconscious 
and oblivious every where of the great Identity whence 
it springs ? If that were applied inwardly which now 
looks out, and every natural impediment removed, 
experience might then reveal in us the antecedent life. 
But the former objections recur here : there are impe- 
diments ; and it behoves us to consider scrupulously, 
but without prejudice, the possibility and tests of such 
an experience ; for if by this traditionary fall and out- 
birth, the understanding is so polluted as to be no 
more able, as Lord Bacon supposes,^ to reflect the 
total reason to itself, introspection will be useless, and 
the central mystery remains, as respects humanity, 
a hopeless problem after all. 

None better than the ancients (who "profess to 
have enjoyed the rational life in its most intimate 
spheres, and to have reaped its most real and lasting- 
advantages,) describe the folly and fatal allurements 
to which they are subjected who trust themselves 
to remain passively dreaming in the region of the 
phantasy, with its notions and instincts, often more 
false, fleeting, and evil than the corporeal images with 
which sense is conversant. It is for this cause they 
insist so much that, before any one betakes himself to 
the inner Ufe of contemplation — before he hopes, wc 
mean, to pass into its Reason — that all else be cfl'ec- 

^ See his Instauration of the Sciences, sub iiiit. 

188 More Esoteric View. 

tually obliterated, and the mental atmosphere made 
clear and passive before its objective light. Without 
this, they promise nothing; with it, all. And on this 
possibility, namely, of purifying the human Under- 
standing Essence, and developing to consciousness its 
occult Causality, the transcendental philosophy of the 
mystics may be observed to hinge entirely and exceed 
every other. 

For that there is a foundation of truth in existence, 
is as necessary for us to admit as that we are ignorant 
of it ; and the doubt rather remains also about the 
discovery of means, than the possibility of self-know- 

To continue then, partly on the authority of the 
Greek philosophers and partly on some other grounds 
hereafter to be disposed of, we are led to infer that the 
Hermetic purifications and Mysteries, celebrated in the 
Eastern temples and by the priests at Eleusis, were 
real and efficacious for the highest ends that philoso- 
phy can propose to itself, namely, the purification and 
perfection of human life ; and that inasmuch as the 
object was different and immeasurably superior to 
those proposed by modern Mesmerism, or any other 
art or science of the present day, so also were the 
means employed (the })articulars of which are furtJicr 
discussed under the Practice), and the administration 
in proportion purer, holier, and entirely scientific. 
For does not all our experimentalism and philosophy 
end in fact where the ancients began, purifying the 
Vital Spirit in its proper Light ? 

Or if any one think we have been discussing all the 
while a mere nothing, and developing a vain imagina- 
tion, we admit it ; suggesting only that. That which is, 
in his mind, so mere a nothing, becomes in that of a 
philosopher to be the All in all. But who will now 
conceive the full latitude and substantiality of this prin- 
ciple, or the true metaphysical use thereof? Few, 
very few, Philalethes said, there were in his day, and 
who will even inquire now, or believe that it is the 
very same which solved and resolved, and wisely 

The Mysteries. 189 

manipulated, becomes to be the concrete Stone of phi- 
losophers ; in its pure, passive expanse, a mirror of 
the catholic reason of nature, and the medium of that 
holy and sublime experience granted to man alone 
in the divine alliance — Ex natura et divino factum 
est, as Reuchlin, in 2'he M'mjic Word, expresses it — / 
Divinum enim quia cum divinitate conjunct|lm di- /^■^/ 
vinas substantias facit. / ^ 

Take that which is least, and draw it by artifice into 
the true ferment of philosophers ; although our metal 
is exteriorly dead, yet it has life within, and wants 
nothing more than that That which in the eyes of 
a philosopher is most precious should be collected, 
and that That which the many set more value on be 
rejected ; and these words are manifest without envy, 
says the Greek Aristhenes, O, how wonderful is that 
thing to which we add nothing different and detract 
nothing, only in the preparation removing superflui- 

From that which is perfect nothing more can be 
made ; for a perfect species is not changed in its na- 
ture, neither from an utterly imperfect thing can art 
produce perfection ; but this Universal Spirit is de- 
scribed as a middle substance — passive, undetermined, 
susceptible of conversion and all extremes. And such 
accordingly we understand to be the ^ne ^hing 
purifying and to be purified itself by itself, in turn 
agent and patient, which are the Hermetic luminaries ; 
in their full representative advancement, the Sun and 
Moon philosophical, passing through many phases 
from imperfection to perfection in the true magistery. 

And the Hermetic art would seem to consist simply 
in the right disposition and manipulation of this our 
Undetermined Subject, taking her where nature leaves, 
and by divers operations, to be hereafter noted, as of 
amalgamation, distillation, filtration, digestion, and 
lastly by sublimation to the Head of an appropriate 

1 Aristoteles in Eosario, and in the Lucerna Salis. 

190 More Esoteric View. 

Vessel, establishing her in a new and concentric Form 
of Light. 

Nor may this seem a fable to the wise, 
Since all things live according to their kinds ; 
Their life is light Avhich in them hidden lies, 
Discerned by the eyes of soaring minds, 

To them discovered is true nature's map, 
By whom produced nothing is by hap : 

For she her secret agent doth possess. 
Which in the universe is only one, 
But is distinct thro' species numberless, 
According to their seeds, which God alone 

In the beginning did produce, and then ^.^ 

Set them their law, found out ^^y mental men.^ ^f 

But a long- interval is between, and all the labours of 
that Heroic Intellect to be passed through before the 
/vLQ.Ci'iynS rejected Keystone i ^join s her Head place. None but a 
/ })hilosopher ever achieved the work, or, for reasons 

that are imperative, ever will. The idle and vicious 
are totally excluded, nor are the rewards of Wisdom to 
be won by fools wanting the very principle of meliora- 
tion in themselves. — Nemo enim dat id, quod non 
habet. — He only that hath it can impart — and he only 
has it who has laboured rationally in the pursuit. As 
is exemplified in that saying of Esdras — The earth 
giveth much mould, whereof earthen vessels are made, 
but little dust that gold cometh of. ^ 

Non levis adscensus, si quis petat ardua sudor 
Plurimus hunc tollit, nocturna) insomnis oliva' 
Tmmoritur, delet quod mox laudaveri^ in se, 
Qui cupit teternae donari froudis honore. 

/(^Sj ^ Eirenfeus' Marrow of Alchemy, book i. p. 12. 

/ - Esdras, cap. viii. book i. 

The Mysteries. 191 


The ]\Iysterks contirmed. 

It is necessary that the soul, when purified, should associate 
with its generator. — Porphyry, Anx. to InteUiyih. 

WE have so far developed the nature of the inter- 
nal life only, as it was at first revealed to the 
aspirant in the Lesser Mysteries ; and this was the only 
popular initiation open to all. It represented, accord- 
ing to the accounts, a new and fertile field of natural 
contemplation which every one was at liberty to ap- 
propriate, and where each roamed at pleasure without 
rule or subordination, and without that consent and 
sympathy which a uniformity of life produces. 

Previous to the purificative rites little change, 
therefore, was effected. It gave a passing experience 
to the multitude, and in a few^ awakened the desire 
and hope of better things ; just as amongst us Mes- 
rism, which of all modern arts is most pertinent to 
this philosophy as working in the same matter, affords 
entrance^ with the imagination of another life. And 
more than this, in w^ell-conditioned cases, we have ^ 
proof of the intrinsical inteUigence and power of the 
Free Spirit which can expatiate into the whole circum- 
ference of its sphere and reveal hidden things, exhi- 
biting a variety of gifts ; it can philosophize also more 
or less well according to the direction, natural purity, 
and relaxation of the sensual bond. But not all that 
men wonder at in the present day, the insensibility, 
the cures, the mental exaltation, nor much more of 
the same class which the trance spontaneously deve- 
lops even in the best subjects, could satisfy the exact- 
ing reason of our forefathers ; desirous rather to in- 
vestigate the Thing itself, the subject of so many mar- 



192 More Esoteric View. 

vels, they passed the first phenomena to look for 
Causes, experimenting within. 

Volo ovum philosophorum dissolvere et partes phi- 
losophic^ hominis investigare, nam hoc est initium ad 
alia — says the experimental Friar ;^ and to concen- 
trate the whole vitality, to turn the spiritual eye, to 
purify and analyze the total essence and draw forth 
the true Efficient and to know it in coidentity, this 
was their object and the Art of Theurgy. For it is 
not, as they say, that the Spirit is free from material 
bondage, or able to range the universe of her own 
sphere, that guarantees the truth of her revealments, 
or helps the consciousness on to subjective experience ; 
for this a concentrative energy is needed, and an intel- 
lect penetrating into other spheres, rather than discur- 
sive in its own. 

There are many ways known and practised of en- 
trancing the senses, and the key of the Hermetic ves- 
tibule may be said to be already in our hands, which 
are able to dissolve the sensible medium and convert 
it to the experience of another lifc.^ But the order 

^ Eog. Bacboni de Mirab. Potest. Artis ct Xatui\T, Ars Aiiri- 
fera, vol. ii. p. 342. 

2 AVe adopt tbe term dissolve bcre iu accordance witli tbe obi 
doctrine ; vaiyiug tbeories bavc been proposed to explain tbe 
cbange tliat takes place in tbe vital relationsbip of tbe patient iu 
tlie mesmeric trance : some bave tliongbt tbe sensible medinm is 
drawn away by a superior attraction of life in tbe agent ; otbers, 
tbat it is overcome, or inclnded, or arrested, or destroyed ; but 
tbe Alcbemists, witb one accord, say it ougbt to be dissolved ; 
and, in default of better autbority, sball we not suppose it so to be 
dissolved, or tbat it ougbt to be, tbe alkali by tbe acid, tbe dark 
dominion of tbe selfbood by tbe magnetic friction of its proper 
ligbt, tbe sensible or animal into tbe vegetable, tlie cerebral into 
tbe ganglionic life ? Corpora ttfei qui^ vult pui-gare oportet fluxa 
facere, says tbe autbor of tbe Eosarium, tbat tbe compact eartby 
body of sense may be rarified and flow as a passi\ e watery spirit. 
Tbe beginning of tbe work, says Albcrtus IMagnus, is a perfect 
solution ; and all tbat we teacb is notbiug else but to dissolve and 
recongeal tbe spirit, to make tbe fixed volatile and tbe volatile 
fixed, until tbe total is perfected by tbe reiteration, botb 
in its Solary and Lunar form. — Alberti Secret. Tract. Artis Auri- 
ferae, p. 130. 

The Mysteries. 193 

in which the next solution, or resolution rather, was 
operated which was to translate the consciousness un- 
derneath this medium by obscuration, towards the 
Central Source, is known probably to very few in 
the present day, for it is entirely concealed from 
the world : they only, amongst the ancients who 
had fulfilled the previous rites and undergone all 
the required ordeals, were entrusted with the pass- 
port. It discovers a fearful mystery in the opening 
sensation of power, in a life which, at its entrance, is 
described as dark, delusive, and dangerous, and more 
corrupted far than the foregoing, but through which 
it is quite necessary to pass before inquiry can hope 
to meet its object in the Elysian light. 

Tenent media omnia sylvse, 
Cocytusque sinu labens circumfluit atro. 

Betwixt these regions and that upper light, 
Deep forests and impenetrable night 
Possess the middle space ; the infernal bounds, 
Cocytus, with his sable wave surrounds.^ 

We are aware that the descent to the Infernal regions 
and all those highly wrought descriptions of the poets, 
concerning the riches and powerful allurements of 
Pluto's kingdom and Hades, have been looked upon, 
and very naturally, as purely imaginative, and the re- 
presentations of the same in the mysteries as a pic- 
torial or pantomimic show. But as we have hitherto 
been enabled to regard the minor celebrations from an 
esoteric point of view, shewing their relationship to 
more modern experience and the Hermetic art, we 
hope to continue on our adventure, being not without 
precedent either or guiding authority over the same 
ground. For is it not absurd to suppose that men 
should liave philosophized and composed so many ex- 
cellent and sublime discourses from the contemplation 
of shadows only ? But setting aside such a notion, nei- 
ther do we conceive that by Hades, or that profound 
Lethe, the ancients understood a corporeal nature, or 

1 Dryden's ^neid, lib. vi. 130. 

194 More Esoteric View. 

this fleshly existence of ours, or anything in fact 
with which ordinary observation makes us acquainted ; 
but the whole allusion is to a state of vital submersion 
in the Mysteries, when the consciousness is artificially 
drawn about the penetralia of its first life. Nor, if 
we may credit accounts, is the descent difficult, or so 
far off, but the infernal gates lie open to mortal men 
on earth ; but because of the arduous nature of the 
re-ascent and for the sake of securing it, lest unpre- 
pared souls, presuming to enter, should be taken cap- 
tive by deluding and fatal desires, and work irremedi- 
able evil there, every precaution has been instituted to 
keep the way a secret fi*om the world, as well for its 
own sake as for the cause of justice and divine wis- 
dom about to be revealed ; wherefore the Sybil warns 
JEneas of the danger of his undertaking in those me- 
morable lines. 

Facilis descensus Averni ; * 

Noctes atque dies patet atri janiia Ditis : 
Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras, 
Hoc opus, hie labor est. Pauci quos sequus amavit 
Jupiter, aut ardens evexit ad a^thera virtus, 
Diis geniti potuere.* 

The grand requirement of the Mysteries after the 
first purificative rites, (the inclination being already 
freed fi'om the dominion, and all the superficial progeny 
of sense,) was that the will should conceive within itself 
a motive purely rational to withstand the temptations 
of its next including sphere ; that it might be enabled 
to follow the true path upward, penetrating through 
darkness, and defilements, and dissolution even, to the 
discovery of Wisdom in her hglit abode. To this 
^neas accordingly is directed by the Sybil, w^iom we 
follow, after her warning already given, to search for 
that well-distinguished, most mysterious golden bough. 

Aureus et foliis et lento vimine ramus, 
Junoni infernae sacer.^ 

Without which as a propitiation he may not venture 
I .Eneid, lib. vi. 126. 2 jdem, 136, 

The Mysteries. 195 

on the subterranean research. But it may be asked, 

why this myrtle branch was represented to be of gold. 

Not merely for the sake of the marvellous, Warburton 

tells us, we may be assured. A golden bough was 

literally part of the sacred equipage in the shows, a 

burden which the Ass, who carried the mysteries, we 

may believe, was proud of. But of what kind this 

branch was, Apuleius partly indicates in his procession 

of the Initiated into the Mysteries of Isis, where we 

find it connected with the Mercurial caduceus and 

treated as a most important symbol in initiatory 

rites ;^ which we therefore understand ontologically, 

as a ray of living light, golden and flexible, the 

true Brancha Spiritualis of Raymond Lully. Intel- 

lectusihabens subtilem ad intelligendum res intelligi- /I Tz^^tZ'ua^^KJ-i 

biles •} — insinuating by rational penetration alone 

through the murky circumference of the chloric ether 

into its own congenial life, which is Proserpine, and 

that lapsed soul of ours, seated in her dark M'postasis 

.unknown ; whose vapour is so subtile and transient 

that nothing but the glance of its proper intellect by 

faith can arrest it. And those doves that lead the way 

too, are they not known to our Alchemists and those 

chosen seats? 

But to be brief; it is only by exceeding zeal and 
piety of intention, such as is ascribed to /Eneas in 
search of his father, and a prevailing reason, that 
the seeking mind becomes fitted for establishment 
in her essence and percipient of her final duty to 
separate the good and reject the evil therein by birth 
allied ; that she may know to what she ought to 
aspire, dismissing every other consideration, where 
desires are images and will their act. Thus, Plato 
says, *fea^ it is necessary that a man should have his 
right opinion as firm as adamant in him when he de- 
scends into Hades, that there likewise he may be un- 
moved by riches or any such hke evils, and may not, 
falling into tyrannies and such other practices, do in- 

^ Metam. lib. xi. 

- Arbor, X, Scientije Hnmanalis, p. 99. 
o 2 

196 More Esoteric View. 

curable mischiefs and himself suffer still greater ; but 
that he may know how to choose the middle life as 
to those things, and to shun extremes on either hand, 
both in this life as far as possible and in the whole 
hereafter.^ And again, in the Seventh Book of the Re- 
public — He who is not able by the exercise of his rea- 
son to define the idea of the Good, separating it from 
all other objects and piercing, as in a battle, through 
every kind of argument, endeavouring to confute, not 
according to opinion but according to essence, and pro- 
ceeding through all the dialectic energies with an un- 
shaken reason — he who cannot accomplish this, nei- 
ther knows he the Good itself, nor anything that is 
properly denominated the Good. And would you not 
say that such a one, if he apprehended any certain 
truth or image of reality, would apprehend it rather 
through the medium of opinion than of science ; that 
in the present life he is sunk in sleep and conversant 
in the delusions of dreams ; and that descending into 
Hades, before he is roused to a vigilant state, he will 
be overwhelmed with a sleep perfectly profound?^ To 
fall asleep in Hades was indeed to be absorbed, with- 
out the incumbrance of body, in all its defilements ; 
according to the philosopher, the direst evil that can 
befal any one ; or, as Virgil has it, — to be a king 
in hell. 

But with all the warnings of difficulties, and dangers, 
. . y and death, to be encountered, no hero or |j,inii iimii 
oie/yrvC-a^M. occurs in the poets, but he sometime descended to 
the Infernals, and had fi-ee egress thereafter to the 
Elysian Fields ; but two are described as suffering for 
the attempt — Theseus and Pirithous, who, as Proclus 
admirably explains, were detained there — the one be- 
cause he was too much a lover of corporeal beauty, the 
other through his natural inability to sustain the 
arduous altitude of divine contemplation. In the sixth 
book of the vEneid, Virgil has gracefully set forth 
the whole transaction of his successful hero, with the 

' Republic, book x. ^ Idem, book vii. 

The Mysteries. 197 

labours and difficulties, and appalling visions that at- 
tended on the outset of his pious research ; all which 
has been shown by Warburton ^ and other learned 
commentators, to bear close allusion to the Mysteries, 
in which we have reason also to believe the poet him- 
self was profoundly initiated, and whose allegoric 
conduct, therefore, we pursue as an inquiry of In- 
tellect after its Paternal Source. 

To continue, then, in order of the tradition: after 
the ordeal rites had been undergone, and the few who 
were found fit, selected for further initiation, the con- 
cession of more arcane mysteries succeeded. 

Gressus removete prophani 
Jam furor humanus nostro de pectore sensua 

As the consciousness passing the middle region, clear 
and rational from out the Aquaster, enters the Fire 
World, and the Sybil leads her hero to the dark 

Spelunca alta fuit, vastoque immania hiatu, 

Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro nemorumque tenebris ; 
-1 Quam super baud ullae poterant impune volantes 

tA^e^L Tend ere -it* pennis : talis sese halitus atris 

Faucibus efFundens supera ad convexa ferebat, 

TJnde locum Graii dixerunt nomine Aornum.^ 

And what does all this imagery point at, but the 
thickening darkness of the nether air verging to the 
chaos of mattei' flowing out from the perpetual motion ^ ^:ju/jpC 
of the first life; destitute of elasticity, Aormis, heavy 
Hke that of an enclosed cave, and vast ; dangerous, as 
it is said by some, giving forth a murky odour, like 
that of graves. It is the Black Saturn of the adepts, 
and that appearing corruption that precedes the mys- 
tical death and regeneration into new life : as de- 
scribing the same ens, they call it lapis niger vilis 
fcetens et dicitur origo mundi et oritur sicut germi- 

^ Divine Legation, vol. i. p. 345, &c. 

^ Claudian de Raptu Proserpinfe, sub initio. 

^ .Eueid, lib. vi. 2,37. 

198 More Esoteric ViEvr. 

nantia. Sendivogius calls it Urinus Saturni, with 

which he waters his lunar and solar plants ; and ano- 

/ ther, — Ex mari meo oriuntur nebulse, quae ferunt aquas 

(wJ benedictas et ips^ irrigant terras et educant herbas et 

/ flores. With this allusion, the Alchemists also call 

the Ether their mineral tree ; for they were not so 

careful to hide this in general, seeing the true species 

was laid asleep in sense, and doubly locked up, as it 

were, within both corporeal and spiritual confines, and 

how far the world was off from the art of unfolding or 

profiting by it. The reception of jEneas in Hades is 

next described. 

/jjyyyyjyy^^^ Ecce autem, prinii sub limiae soils et ortus, 

Sub pedibus mugire solum, et juga coepta mover! 
Sylvarum, vlsaeque canes ululare per umbram 
Adventante Dea.^ 

And Claudian, to the same effect, poetises the tremen- 
dous advent. 

Jam mllil cernuntur trepidis delubra mover^ t/ 
Sedlbus, et claram dispergere fulmina lucem 

l^ Adveutum testata de|. : jam magnus ab Imis 

Audltur fremitus terrls, templumque remugit 

' (y^j Cecropi^m; sanctasque faces attolllt Eleuslii ; 

/ Angues Triptolemi stridunt, et squamea curvls 

CoUa levant attrita jugis 
Ecce procul temias Hecate variata figiu'as 

And all this, extravagant and fanciful though it should 
appear, has been echoed by philosophers, and the 
Greek descriptions agree in each remarkable particular. 
Plato, amongst others, likens the descent of the soul 
into these oblivious realms of generation to an earth- 
quake and other strong convulsions of nature. Psellus, 
in his valuable commentary, describes the apparitions 
procured by the Chaldaic rites as of two kinds : the 
first called superinspcctiou, when he who celebrates the 
divine rites sees a mere apparition, as, for instance, of 

/7. 1 .-Eneid, lib.^v. 255. 

■^ De Raptu Proserpinse, sub init. 

The Mysteries. 199 

light in some form or figure, concerning which the 
oracle advises, that if any one sees such a liglit, he ap 
ply not his mind to it, nor esteem the voice proceeding 
thence to be true ; sometimes, likewise, to many 
initiated persons, there appear Hghts in various forms 
and figures. These apparitions are created by the 
passions of the soul, in performing divine rites, mere 
appearances, having no substance, and therefore not 
signifying anything true.^ Which vaporous estate of 
universal being, the poets also fabulously concealed 
under the satyric form of Pan, who exhibited himself 
in every variety of atrocious disguises of wild beasts, 
and monsters, and demoniacal appearances, that he 
might affright those who would captivate him. 

Corripit liic subita trepidus formidine ferrum 
^neas, strictamqiie aciem venientibus offert. 
Et ui docta comes tenues sine corpore vitas 
Admoneat volitare cava sub imagine formae, 
Irruat, et frustra ferro diverberet umbras.^ 

For it is the imaginative spirit which is the maker of 
these images, as in dreams, only more intense. As 
moisture condensed in the ah' constitutes clouds, which 
the wind disposes in various forms, so our pneumatic 
vehicle, becoming humid and condensed beneath her 
heaven, presents many formidable apparitions to the 
inner sense, and all the race of demons, so much cele- 
brated by antiquity, appear to have their origin in a 
life of this kind, viz., from an included vapour of the 
imagination : nor these, individually belonging, were 
seen only ; but, as it is recorded, each by rapport in 
this state becomes conversant with the whole phantas- 
magoric universe of his sphere : hence the platitude of 
the descriptions and poetical crowding of images to 
the individual sense. Proclus, commenting on the 

1 Psellus de OracuU, 14, 19. See also Oracula Cbaldseorum 
Demones Sacrificia. Neqiie naturse, voces per se visibile simnla- 
crum. jSTon enim oportet illoa te spectare, antequam corpus sacris 
piirgetur. Quando animas mulcentes, semper a sacris abducunt. 
Ergo ex sinibus terrae exiliunt terrestres canes. Nvinquam verum 
corpus mortali homini monstrantes. 

2 .Eneid, lib. vi. 290. 

200 More Esoteric View. 

First A/cibiacIes oi' Plato, asserts that material images, 
assuming the appearance even of things divine, con- 
stantly attended on the Mysteries, drawing towards 
them souls not yet sufficiently purified, and separating 
them from truth. And that such actually appeared to 
the Muitai, during the evaporative process of purifi- 
cation, and before the lucid vision of the light within, 
is further shown in the following passage of the same 
experienced theologist. In the most holy Mysteries, 
says he, before the presence of the god, the impulsive 
forms of certain terrestrial demons appear, which call 
the attention oft' from undefiled advantages to matter. 
And again, — as in the most holy Mysteries, the mystics 
at first meet with the multiform and many-shaped 
genera which are hurled forth before the gods ; but on 
entering the interior part of the Temple, unmoved and 
guarded by the sacred rites, they genuinely receive 
into their bosom divine illumination, and divested of 
their garments, as they would say, participate of the 
Divine Nature, the same method takes place in the 
speculation of Wholes.^ 

For the reason of this life imitates, inasmuch as it 
is able, and obeys instinctively its motive light ; and 
as the natural intellect is liable to error, so the spi- 
ritual also, not yet perfected, is liable to be caught in 
the traps of these exterior spirits, which being, as 
Basil Valentine, in his Alchemical Chariot, observes, 
endowed with senses and understanding, know Arts, 
and have in themselves an occult operative hfe ; giving 
testimony also of their virtue in the art of healing 
and other secrets, by w^hich they deceive and detain 
the unwary from the search of better things.^ 

The writings of the middle ages abound Hkewise 
with descriptions of these demoniacal natures ; regular 
classifications of them are given by Agrippa,-^ and Tri- 

' Proclus on the Theology of Plato, vol. i. p. 9. De Auima et 
Demone, throughout. 

2 Triumplial Chariot of Antimony, Kirchriugius, Engl. edit. p. 

•* Occult Philosophy, bonk ii. 


The Mysteries. 201 

themius;^ and Psellus ;^Proclus,^/amblicus,* and Por- -^ 
phyry,^ allude to their material efficacy and operation in 
Divine Works, where desu'e, entering into those aerial 
forms, is said to vivify them ; and the Chaldaic oracle 
even persuades that there are pure demons. — Natura , 

suadet esse demonas puros, et mali materiae germina Q^ 
utilia et bona, — and that the germinations even of evil 
matter are of use.^ Synesius mentions them also as 
the progeny of matter, and as having an energetic 
virtue, but at natural war with the truth-seeking / . / 

soul;^ and Proclus, in his Hymn to the Sun, ^ cg o- aes^e^'Tx^iTej 
^ -cratcG them as 

Demons wlio macliiiiate a thousand ills, 

Pregnant with ruin to our wretched souls, 

That merged beneath life's dreadful sounding sea 

In body's chain they willingly may toil ; 

Nor e'er remember in the dark abyss 

The splendid palace of their sire sublime. 

And it is the dread of such an oblivion there below 
that the oracle announces to intellect in those solemn 
tones — Ducat animse profunditas immortalis oculosque 
affatim, — Omnes sursum extende. Let the immortal 
depth of thy soul be predominant, and all thy eyes 
extend upwards ; incline not to the dark world whose 
depth is a faithless bottom and Hades dark all over, 
squalid, delighting in images, unintelligible, precipi- 
tous, and a depth always rolhng full of stupidity and 

Umbrarum hie locus est, somni noctisque soporae.^ 

If the soul on its depaVture, says Porphyry, still pos- 
sesses a spirit turbid from humid exhalations, it then 
attracts to itself a shadow and becomes heavy ; and a 

1 De Septem Intelligentii &c. 

2 Michaele Psello de Demonibus. 

3 Excerpta M. Ficini ex Grraecis Procli Com. in Alcibiad. 
^ De Mysteriis ^gypt-Chaldeor. 
* De Divinis atque Demonibus. 
" Oracula Zoroastri. 
"^ De Somni^. 

^ Zoroastri Oracula Aninia, Corpus, Homo. 
'^ ^neid, lib. vi. 389, 


202 More Esoteric View. 

spirit of this kind naturally strives to penetrate into 
the recesses of the earth, unless a certain other cause 
draws it in a contrary direction : as, therefore, the soul 
when sun'ounded with this testaceous and terrene 
vestment necessarily lives on the earth, so likewise 
when it attracts a moist spirit, it is necessarily sur- 
rounded with the image. But it attracts moisture 
when it continually endeavours to associate with 
nature, whose operations are effected in moisture, and 
which are rather under than upon the earth : when, 
however the soul earnestly desires to depart from 
nature, {i.e. strives to penetrate centrally without ex- 
ploring the intermediate spheres,) then she becomes a 
dry splendour without shadow and without a cloud or 
mist. For moisture gives subsistence to a mist in the 
air ; but dryness constitutes a dry splendour from ex- 
halation.^ Hence that renowned saying of Heraclitus, 
that a dry soul is the wisest, for the soul looking at 
things posterior to herself beholds the shadow and 
images of her vaporous vehicle ; but when she is con- 
verted to herself, she evolves her proper essences and 
irradiates the whole circumference with her own abun- 
dant oxygenating and dispersive light. ^ Thus Hermes : 
Extract from the ray its shadow and its obscurity, by 
which the clouds hang over it, and corrupt and keep 
away the light ; by means of its constriction, also, and 
tiery redness it is burned ; take, my son, this watery 
and corrupted nature, which is as a coal holding the 
fire, which if thou shalt withdraw so often until the 
redness is made pure, then it will associate with thee, 
by whom it was cherished and in whom it rests. -^ 

Visitabis interiora terra? rectificaudo, invenies 
Occultum lapidem, veram mediciuam. 

Visit the interiors of the earth rectifying, says the 
sage, and thou shalt find the hidden Stone, the true 

^ Au.vil. to Intelligib. sect. 1. 

- Proclus on tlie Theology of Plato, book i. cap. iii. 

^ Tract. Aur. cap. ii. 

The Mysteries. 203 

medicine : not the feculent dead soil, but our dark di- 
vulsed chaotic life from sense, which opened and recti- 
fied, dissolved and reunited, is changed from an earthly 
to a spiritual body, by rapport divine. In such a pro- 
cess it would seem the Alchemists discovered the hidden 
principles of nature, as, experimentally passing through 
the animal and vegetable into the mineral circulation of 
her Law, they describe the life of all things here below 
to be a thick fire imprisoned in a certain incombustible 
aerial moisture ; — Ignis ruber super dorsum ignis can- 
didi — which moisture in its native state, before it is pu- 
rified by the inflowing light of reason, is that Hades 
we are treating of, the Purgatory of the wise, wherein 
the consciousness, becoming artificially wrapped by the 
Mysteries, continues for a while in a state of solicitude 
and painful amazement, unable of itself to discover, 
through so great a cloud of darkness, that Hypostatic 
Reality towards which it is instructed evermore to as- 
pire. And until this attraction is found and finally 
established in union, the opposive powers display their 
mutual forces in discordant dissolute array, as the Al- 
chemists, with all who have been profoundly experi- 
enced in this ground, relate each in his own instruc- 
tive way, warning about the conduct through it, and 
the many real, though chimerical horrors and entic- 
ing phantoms that haunt around, guarding the secret 
chamber of their mineral soul. For, as the sage in 
Enoch declares it, lead and tin are not produced from 
earth as the primary fountain of their production ; but 
there is an angel standing upon it, and that angel 
struggles to prevail.^ 

Vaughan notes the same in the Regio P hantastica 
of his Hieroglyphic, and elsewhere, speaking of the 
mineral nature or First Matter, he says, The eye of man 
never saw her twice under one and the same shape ; 
but as clouds driven by the wind are forced to this and 
that figure, but cannot possibly retain one constant 
form, so is she persecuted by the fire of nature;^ as, 

^ Book of Enoch, chap. Ixiv. 7, 8. 

2 Lumen de Lumine, Introd. Coehim Terrse, page 90. 

204 More Esoteric View. 

by the re-entering Light of Reason in the Mysteries, 
which is that Sulphur of adepts, causing all this mani- 
fold scenery in the disruption of life. O Nature ! the 
most wonderful creatrix of natures, cries Hermes, which 
containest and separatest all things in a middle prin- 
ciple. Our Stone comes with light and with light it 
is generated, and then it brings forth the clouds, and 
darkness which is the mother of all things.^ Ray- 
mond Lully, also, in his Compeiidiinn of Alchemy, calls 
the first principles of the Art, Spiritus fugitivos in sere 6Ui/iz 
condensatos, in forma monstrorum diversoruni et 
animalium etiam hominum, qui vadunt sicut nubes, 
modo hinc modo illuc ; that is to say, certain fugitive 
spirits condensed in the air, in shape of divers mon- 
sters, beasts, and men, which move like clouds hither 
and thither. 

In an outward acceptation such an announcement of 
principles would be absurd, or what possible interpre- 
tation could aftbrd them a place in common sense ? or 
whence, if they be true, (and Lully's name stands well 
for their defence,) were they so probably brought to the 
cognizance of the philosopher, as from the self-inspec- 
tion of them in life ? But Lully, indeed, calls these 
chaotic forms first principles ; not because they are 
permanent or their essence rational, in that unctuous 
dark condition, but because within the material ex- 
treme of this life, when it is purified, the Seed of the 
Spirit is at last found : which the adept further de- 
scribes asy^ a decompounded ens, extremely heavy, 
shining through the darkness like a fiery star, being 
full of eyes like pearls or aglets. For it is the whole 
O/ Dem^gorgon, as yet not actually animated by contact 
of his own returning light. The father of it, says 
Vaughan, is a certain inviolable mass, for the parts of 
it are so firmly united you can neither pound them to 
dust, nor separate them by violence of fire.^ This is 
the rock in the wilderness, because in great obscurity 
and difficult to find the way of, compassed about with 

' Tract Aur. cap. iii. ^ Lumen dc Lumine, p. 


The Mysteries. 205 

darkness, clouds, and exhalations, as it were dwelling 
in the bowels of the earth. — Our viscous soul, as 
Synesius calls it, circulating in the midst of all her 
Adamical defilements, and which Plato compares to 
that marine Glaucus so deformed by the foreign 
weeds and parasites that had grown about him, that in 
every respect he resembled a beast rather than what 
he really was.^ In such a deplorable condition is the 
divine germ of humanity said to be beheld under the 
thousand evils of its birth. 

Monstrum, horrendum, informe, ingens cui lumen ademptum. 

There is a curious figurative account given in a 
letter circulcated under the name of the Brethren of the 
Rosy Cross, which appears to have reference to this 
passage of initiatory progress in the Mysteries. It 
may be rendered thus : — 

There is a mountain situated in the midst of the 
earth or centre of the world, which is both amall and 
great. It is soft also above measure, hard, and 
strong. It is far off, and near at hand ; but, by the 
providence of God, it is invisible. In it are hidden 
most ample treasures, which the world is not able to 
value. This mountain, by env)^ of the Devil, who 
always opposes the glory of God and the felicity of 
man, is compassed about with very cruel beasts and 
ravenous birds, which make the way thither both diffi- 
cult and dangerous ; and therefore, hitherto, because 
the time is not yet come, the way thither could not be 
sought after by all ; but only by the worthy man's 
self-labour and investigation. 

To this mountain you shall go in a certain night, 
when it comes most long and dark ; and see that you 
•pre'pare yourselves by prayer. Insist upon the way 
that leads to the mountain, but ask not of any man 
where it lies ; only follow your guide who will offer 
himself to you and will meet you in the way.^ 

^ Republic, book vii. 

' Themistius relates how, when cnterino- the mystic dome, tlie 

206 More Esoteric View. 

This guide will bring you to the mountain at mid- 
night, when all things are silent and dark. It is neces- 
sary that you arm yourself with a resolute heroic 
courage, lest you fear those things that will happen 
and fall back.^ You need no sword or other bodily 
weapon, only call upon your God, sincerely and heartily 
seeking Him. 

When you have discovered the mountain, the first 
miracle that will appear is this ; a most vehement and 
very gi'eat wind that will shake the whole mountain and 
shatter the rocks to pieces. You will be encountered 
by lions, dragons, and other terrible wild beasts ; but 
fear not any of these things.'^ Be resolute, and take 
heed that you return not, for your guide who brought 
you thither will not suffer any evil to befall you. As 
for the treasure, it is not yet discovered ; but it is very 
near. After this wind will come an earthquake, which 
will overthrow those things which the wind had left. 
Be sure you fall not off. The earthqitakehe'mg passed, 
there shall follow a Jire that will consume the earthly 
rubbish, and discover the treasure: but as yet you 

initiated is seized at first with solicitude and perplexity, unable to 
move a step forward, at a loss to find the entrance to that road 
which is to lead him to the place which he desires ; till the 
conductor, laying open for him the vestibule, he enters &c. — See 
Warburton's Divine Legation, the Extract, vol. 1, p. 309. So the 
Sybil for ^Eneas. 

Ille duecm hand timidis vadentem passibus aequat. 

Tlie adepts, many of them, are at some pains to denote the 
peculiar disposition and appearance of this guide, and the Chal- 
daic oracle promises that the mortal, approaching to fire, will 
have a light from divinity. 

' Nunc auimis opus, -^nea, nunc peetore firmo. ^Eneid, lib. vi. 

^ Multaque pr.Tterea variarum monstra ferarum 
Centauri in foribus stabulant Scyll?eque bilbrmes, 
Et centumgeminus Briareus, ac BeUua Lernje 
Horrendum stridens, flammisque armata Chimera; 
Gorgones, Harpyiaeque et forma tricorporis umbrae. 
Corripit hie subita trepidus formidine ferrum 
^Eneas, strictamque aciem venientibus ofFert. 
Et ni docta comes, &c. Idem, 285. 

The Mysteries. 207 

cannot see it.^ After all these things, and near day- 
break, there shall be a great calm, and you shall see 
the day-star arise, and the darkness will disappear ; 
you will conceive a great treasure ; the chiefest thing, 
and the most perfect, is a certain exalted tincture with 
which the world, if it served God and were worthy of 
such gifts, might be tinged and turned into most pure 

And thus much of the concordance of these famous 
Christian philosophers who, if they had not promised 
gold, and proclaimed prodigies after an entertaining 
Arabian Nights' fashion, would never, probably, have 
been thought of by the world, or inquired after, as 
they were, over Europe during the last century, but 
without success. For they who have this knowledge 
know where and how likewise to bestow it, discerning 
betwixt the lovers of mammon and of truth. Fearing 
the dangerous curiosity of the vulgar herd also, we 
observe, the Greeks pass by in silence the physical 
revealments of these Tartarean realms, or, poetizing 
the great experience, evaporate in fancy, as it were, 
the teeming life therein opened with its overflowing 
spirit and light of increase. 

Let none admire 
That riches grow in hell ; that soil may best 
Deserve the precious bane ; and here let those 
"Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell 
Of Babel and the works of Memphian kings, 
Learn how the greatest monuments of fame 
And strength and art are easily outdone 
By spirits reprobate.^ 

And further, how these again may be surpassed and 
vanish, as Aladdin's rapid castle into air, before the 

1 Through fire the divine oracles more plainly teach, that those 
stains are all finally obliterated that accede to the soul from gene- 
ration and which conceal the immortal principle in unconscious 
oblivion for the sake of vivifying the mortal sense. But the 
inquisitive light once entering as a ferment combats and pene- 
trates through the surrounding darkness until meeting its proper 
pole, and conjointly kindling with it, absorbs, transmutes, and 

2 Milton's Paradise Lost, book i. 676. 


208 More Esoteric View. 

discriminative radiance of celestial light. And as in 
the pursuit of other sciences and arts, thought, and 
persevering labour and experience are required to 
ensure success, so should those delusive visions and 
errors which occur during the conscious transference 
to a more excellent condition of being be considered, 
in like manner, not as derogatory or casting a doubt 
at all upon the ultimate truths of divine science, but 
as obstacles rather contrary to it i»id^e»3se, as evil 
is to good everywhere adverse. 

We do not, therefore, linger here any more to con- 
sider the different allotments, the longer or shorter 
periods wdiich engage pure or impure souls in Hades, 
their habits or the triple path arising from their es- 
sences, all which is indicated in the Platonic discourses, 
and most of which abound with sj^mbolical theories 
and poetical descriptions concerning the descent, as- 
cent, and intermediate wanderings, expiatory punish- 
ment and sacrifices, and things of a similar import, 
which the rites enjoined, before the aspirants, by the 
Greeks called JMustai, were passed on by the Hiero- 
phant of the inner temple to its immortal abode : for 
such was Tartarus, the next beyond Hades, according 
to the Ethnics, the alone eternal hypostasis to be 
redeemed from thence, from the oblivious realms of 
generation, into the Elysian recollection of Wisdom in 
the highest consciousness. But the soul is said to be 
in Hades all the while that her hypostasis continues 
in darkness ; that is, we would say, whilst she regards 
her image objectively, before attaining to the experi- 
mental knowledge. And here the Lesser Mysteries 

occultates the surrounding medium into its own abyssal life. 
See Tract. Aureus, cap. iv. Burn the brasen body with an exceed- 
ing strong fire, &c. ; and Eccles. cap. iv. vei'se 28. Go forth, and 
stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord 
passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and 
brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord was 
not in the wind : and after the wind an earthquake ; but the Lord 
was not in the earthquake ; and after the earthquake a fire, but 
the Lord was not in the fire : and after the fire, a small still voice. 
1 Kings xix. 11, 12. 


ended ; the soul, as it were, on the borders of the 
Stygian lake in view of Tartarus, wdiich Euripides has 
elegantly styled also " a dream of death." 

And the conformity between death and this next 
initiation, is strikingly exhibited in a passage preserved 
by Stoboeus from an ancient record ; it has been well 
rendered by Dr. Warburton, and runs thus : — The 
mind is affected and agitated in death, just as it is in 
initiation into the Grand Mysteries. And word answers 
to word, as well as thing to thing : for TEAETTAN is 
to die, and TEAEI^OAI is to be initiated; the first 
stage is nothing but errors and uncertainties ; labour- 
ings, wanderings, and darkness. And now, arrived on 
the verge of death and initiation, everything wears a 
dreadful aspect ; it is all horror, trembling, sweating, 
and affrightment. But this scene once over, a mi- 
raculous and divine light displays itself, and shining 
plains, and flowery meadows, open on all hands before 
them. Here they are entertained with hymns and 
dances, and with sublime and sacred knowledges, and 
with reverend and holy visions. And now become 
perfect and initiated, they are free, and no longer un- 
der restraint ; but crowned and triumphant, they walk 
up and down in the regions of the Blessed.^ 

But all, during the transition, is described as wear- 
ing a fearful aspect ; and dread fills the soul about to 
relinquish her natal bond in life ; neither may it be 
irrelevant to call in mind that repeated advice of 
Solomon, that — the Fear of God is the beginning of 
Wisdom ; — as the spiritual regard in the mysteries, al- 
ready involuted, and drawing towards its end, with awe, 
begins to perceive itself in that Identic Source, And 
shall we not believe that it was out of the same inti- 
mate experience that the son of Sirach, inciting men to 
search after the Divine Wisdom, confesses, that — at 
first she will walk with him by crooked ways, and bring 
fear and dread upon him, and torment him with her dis- 
ciplines, until she may trust his soul, and try him by 
her law? Then she will return the straight way unto 

1 Divine Legation, vol. i. p. 342. 

210 More Esoteric View. 

him, says the Divine teacher, and comfort him, and 
show him her Secret. The root of Wisdom, is to fear 
the Lord, and the branches thereof are long life ; 
strive for the truth, even unto death, and the Lord 
shall fight for thee.^ So, likewise, we read, that 
there is in Alchemy a certain noble body, which is 
moved from one lord to another ; in the beginning of 
which there is suffering with vinegar ; but, in the end, 
joy with exultation O happy gate of Blackness ! 
cries the adept, which art the passage to so glonous a 
change ! Study, therefore, whoever appUest thyself to 
this art, only to know this secret ; for to know this, 
indeed, is to know all, but to be ignorant of this, is to 
be ignorant of all. Take away, therefore, the vapour 
from the water, and the blackness from the oily t'mc- 
tiire, and death from the faces ; and by Dissolution 
thou shalt possess a triumphant reward, even that in 
and by which the possessors live/^ 

In the beginning of Phcedo, Plato, by Socrates, as- 
serts, that it is the business of philosophers to study 
how to be dead. Plotinus, at the same time repro- 
bating suicide, has the same doctrine ; but Porphyry, 
in his Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible Na- 
tui^es, explains the meaning of these others ; for there 
is, says he, a twofold death, the one indeed universally 
known, in which the body is liberated from the soul ; 
but the other peculiar to philosophers, in which the 
soul is liberated from the body : nor does the one en- 
tirely follow the other. That which nature binds, 
nature also dissolves ; that which the soul binds, the 
soul likewise can dissolve : nature, indeed, binds the 
body to the soul, but the soul binds herself to the 
body. Nature therefore liberates the body from the 
soul, but the soul may also liberate herself from the 
body.^ That is to say, if she know how, and have the 
right disposition awarded, she may dissolve her own 

' Ecclesiasticus, chap. i. v. 20 ; chap. iv. v. 17, 18, 28. 

2 Hermes, Tract. Aur. cap. ii. Eiplcy Eevived, 5th gate, p. 

3 Aux. to Intel!, sect. 1, S, 9. 

The Mysteries. 211 

conceptive vehicle, even the parental bond, and return 
consciously (the elementarj'- principles remaining, nor 
yet suffered to depart) , under the dominion of another 
law to life. That was the^" precious death," spoken of 
by the Hebrews and Academics, this the " happy gate 
of blackness" celebrated by the old adepts, the " head 
of Hermes' crow," which is in the beginning of the 
work ; that which was fixed, viz. the sensual compact, 
is dissolved, and that which is dissolved is renovated, 
and hence the corruption and evil of mortality is made 
manifest in the ultimate circulation of the matter to be 
renewed, and on either side it is a signal of Art. And 
all without destruction to the mortal body (if perhaps 
some one values this), the willing life was made to pass 
out of its present oblivious fall, through regeneration, 
into the reminiscent consciousness of her Causal Source, 
As the truth-telling Oracle again declares that, 

If tliou extend the fiery mind to the work of piety, 
Thou shalt preserve the fluxible body likewise. 

Even through death, re-entering into and fortifying 
it with the elixir of an immortal life. Orandum est ut 
sit mens sana in corpore sano. 

Seek thou the way of the soul, 

Whence and by what order, having served the body, 
The same from which thou dost flow, thou must return 
And rise up again, joining action to sacred speech.^ 

Suppose any one beginning at the top of an artificial 
edifice, should undertake to decompose it stone by 
stone, setting all aside, with the dirt and rubbish, as 
he proceeds, he would at last come to the earth which 
is at the foundation, and have space to build up anew ; 
and thus it would appear to be in the Hermetic pro- 
cess. If any one should take the natural life as it 
presents itself, opening and analyzing the parts thereof, 
spiritually and wisely, one from another, graciously, 
as the mandate runs,^ — Terra ab igni, subtile a spisso, 
suaviter cum multaingenio, — he would arrive finally at ii 
the basement, wherein is hidden the true alkaline ori- 

^ Oracula Chaldaica. 
p 2 

212 More Esoteric View. 

ginal of life in its threefold essence separately con- 
tained. And this, the adept tells us, is the syllogism it 
best behov^es us to look after ; for he that has once 
passed the Aquaster, and entered the Fire World, sees 
what is both invisible and incredible to common men. 
He shall discover the miraculous conspiracy that is 
between the Prester and the Sun, the external and in- 
ternal fire of life, the thing desiring and the thing 
desired. He shall know the secret love of heaven and 
earth, and why all influx of fire descends against the 
nature of fire, and comes from above downwards, until 
having found a body, it reascends therewith in perpe- 
tual interchange. He shall know, continues the adept, 
and see how the Fire Spirit has its root in the spiritual 
fire earth, and receives fi'om it a secret influx upon 
which it feeds. A body immarcessible, than which 
there is nothing more ancient, vigorous, and young. 
/ , The Salt of Saturn, that most abstruse principle of the 
O / Stone — the most ancient Demj(gorgon — sethere dempto 
/ — deprived of light, whose perpetual motion emanates 

the first material universe, and is the mineral soul. 
This is the earth, distinguished by Anaxagoras, which 
abiding durably in the centre, " hangs loftily," but its 
Being is Tartarus ; 

And the liglit hating world, and the winding currents 

T3y wliich many tilings are swallowed up. 
Stoop not down, for a precipice lies below in the earth; 
Drawing thro' the ladder whicli hath seven steps, 
Beneath which is the throne of Necessity. 
Enlarge not thou thy destiny. 
The soul will, after a manner, clasp God to herself.^ 

As Porphyry, in our motto head, declares that — it is 
necessary that the soul when purified should associate 
with its Generator ; and the virtue of it after this con- 
version is said to consist in a scientific knowledge of 
true Being, which cannot be obtained either otherwise 
or without such a conversion. 

^ Oracula Chaldaica. 

The Mysteries. 213 

O beatam quisquis felix gnarus Dei 

Sacrorum, vitam piat ; 

Ac aiiimam initiat Orgygis 

Bacclians in montibus, 

Sacris purus lustrationibus.^ 

But, perhaps, inquisitive reader, you will very anx- 
iously ask, what was said and done? I would tell 
you, replies the Epidaurian, if it could he lawfully 
told. But hoth the ears and tongue are guilty of in- 
discretion. Nevertheless, I will not keep you in sus- 
pense with religious desire, nor torment you with a long 
continued anxiety. Hear, therefore, but beheve what 
is true : The priest, then, all the profane being re- 
moved, taking me by the hand, brought me to the 
penetralia of the temple. / approached the coujines 
of death, and, having trod the threshold of Proserpine, 
I returned from it, being carried through all the Ele- 
ments. At mid/no'ht I saw the Sun shinino; with a 
splendid light ; and I manifestly drew near to the gods 
above and beneath, and proximately adored them. 
Behold I have narrated to you things of which, though 
heard, it is nevertheless necessary that you should be 

By no explanation, nor any familiar analogy do 
we here presume to aid the natural intellect to a con- 
ception that transcends it, and which can only be at- 
tained through the identical experience. Yet reason 
may, does perceive it, but abstractly only as an infer- 
ence ; yet it is her true Hypostasis, for which, as Isis 
for Osiris, she is constantly seeking, her objective 
reality in the Great Unknown. The rude uneducated 
reason, however, which serves sensibles without reflec- 
tion, will not understand ; but that only which, seeing 
something more in causation than mere antecedence, 
can ii mag itte into the intelligible substance of her Law. A^ifZtC* 
For there the true Efficient is to be found, which is 
not externally developed ; but^ becoming conjoined in 
consciousness, the soul knows herself as a Whole 

1 Euripides iu Baccliis. 

^ Apuleius Metam. book xi. 

214 More Esoteric View. 

which before knew but a part only of her human 
nature ; and proceeding thus, by theurgic assistance, 
arrives at her desired end, and participating of Deity, 
perceives then and knows, as Plotinus gracefully ex- 
presses it, that the supplier of life is present ; and free 
from all external perturbation and desire, percipiently 
included in the circular necessity of her Law, believes 
its revelation which is her very self. 

This is the Iiitroapection which Psellus speaks of, as 
distinguished from the Superinspectmi which takes 
place in Hades. When the initiated person sees the 
Divine Light itself without any form or figure; this the 
oracle calls Sacro Sancto, for that is seen with a beauty 
by sacred persons, and glides up and down pleasantly 
through the depths of the world. This will not de- 
ceive ; but as the Oracle in fine advises. 

When tliou seest a Fire without Eonu, 
Shining flashingly through the deptlis of the World, 
Hear the voice of Fire.^ 

The same solemn and articulate instruction is given 
in an Indian record, translated by Sir William Jones, 
as follows : — Except the First Cause, whatever may 
appear or may not appear in the mind, know that to 
be the mind's maya (or image or delusion) as of light 
or darkness ; as the great elements are in various 
beings entering, yet not entering, thus AM I, in them 
and yet not in them ; even thus far may inquiry be 
made by him who seeks to know the pyiuciple of mind 
in union and separation, which must be every where and 
always.'^ And in the book of Deuteronomy, fourth chap- 
ter, the unfigured form of the Divine Essence, is noted 
in several places ; and in the book of Zohar, it is ex- 

^ Quando videris forma sine sacram igneam 
Colhicentum saltatim totius per profundum mundi, 
Audi Ignis Vocem. 

Oracula Chaldaica, in fine. 

■^ Asiatic Eesoarches, vol. i. p 211. 

The Mysteries. 215 

plained, that before the descent into creation thuDivinu -Dotrxyy^^* 
Nntm'p has no form, and therefore it was forbidden to 
represent JKim under any image whatever, ev^en so 
much as a letter or point, and in this sense we are to 
understand the mandate, — Take good heed unto your- 
selves, for ye saw no manner of simihtude on the day 
that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the 
midst of the fire.^ 

But then the revelations we have here gathered 
(and which are but a small part indeed of what has 
been described of the visions, and awful accompani- 
ments which took place in the celebration of the 
Greater Mysteries) have been explained away as trifling 
exhibitions ; orreries, as some say, contrived after the 
fashion of Walker's or Lloyd's Eidouranion ; by those 
unfigured lights, it has been argued, were meant aste- 
roids, whilst the figured are supposed agreeably to re- 
present constellations of stars, grouped together in a 
more defined form. The whole, in fact, has been re- 
garded as a moving panorama and illusory display of 
lights. But what extreme of trifling or fantastic folly 
has not modern imagination ascribed to the ancient 
mind? and how commonly mistaken and useless do 
not its best relics remain, for want of a corresponding 
intelligence in latter times? Allegories of recondite 
experience, truthful fables, symbols replete with in- 
struction and refined emblems of art, have been either 
trivially interpreted, or condemned as futile without 
appeal ; even those life-bound mysteries, those dis- / . / 
ciplines, purifications, sacred and primordial rites have / ^ / 
gone for notliing, or as good for nothing, whilst As- 
tronomy has been the imputed spirit of the whole. 

On risk of some ridicule, therefore, and dilettanti 
scorn, we continue by our clue, leaving the darker 
scenes of life's drama, to look beyond even upon / / 
that beautiful sun-lit horizon of the Majidaurentian, / ^^ / 
rising to intellectual radiance, as of the real life. Thus 
Proclus says, that to the wise indeed all things possess 

^ Deuteronomy, chap. iv. v. 15. Zohar, part ii. 

216 More Esoteric View. 

a silent and arcane tendency ; and Intellect is excited 
to the Beautiful with astonishment and motion : for 
the illuuiination from it and its efficacy, acutely i)cr- 
vade through every soul, and as being the most similar 
of all things to the Good, it converts every soul that 
surveys it. The soul also, beholding that which is 
arcane, shining forth as it were to view, rejoices in and 
admires that Vvhich sees, and is astonished about it. 
And as in the most holy IMysteries, prior to the mystic 
spectacles, those who are initiated are said to be seized 
with astonishment and dread, so in Intelligibles, prior 
to the participation of the Good, Beauty shining forth 
astonishes those that behold it, converts the soul to 
itself, and being established in the vestibules (of the 
good) shows what that is which is in the adyta, and 
what the transcendency is of occult being. Through 
these things, therefore, concludes the philosopher, let 
it be apparent whence Beauty originates, and how it 
lirst shines forth, and also that Animal (life) itself is 
the most beautiful of all intelligibles.^ But Apuleius 
no less directly indicates the nature of his own mys- 
terious revelation where, speaking of the Intellectual 
contact which the wise have proved, when they were 
separated from body, through the energies of mind, he 
says, (calling his divine master also to witness), that 
this knowledge sometimes shines forth with a most 
rapid corruscation like a bright and clear light in the 
most profound darkness.^ And Plato himself, speak- 
ing in like manner of the Intellectual Intuition, in his 
seventh Epistle, writes that from long converse with 
the thing itself, accompanied by a life in conformity to 
it, on a sudden a light, as it were a leaping fire, will 
be enkindled in the soul, and will there itself nourish 
itself.^ And heaven, he adds in another place is the 
kindled intelhgence of the First Intelligible, and sight 
looking to things above is heaven."* And the sense of 

^ Proclus on the Theology of Plato, vol. i. book iii. chap, xviii. 
2 On the God of Socrates, in init. 
•■' Epistle vii. ; Taylor, vol. v. 
■* The Cratylus, and in Timeas. 

The Mysteries. 217 

sight is celebrated by all these, therefore, as not only 
beautiful and useful for the purposes of this life ; but 
as a leader in the acquisition of Wisdom. For is it not 
that very light which in us looks out beaming in our 
eyes that, directed within, and being purified also, and 
scientifically inquiring, discovers at last that other 
light which is the substance of its own, until light 
meeting light apprehends itself alone ? 

While thro' the middle of life's boisterous waves, 
Thy soiil robust the deep's deaf tumult braves, 
Oft beaming from the god's thy piercing sight. 
Beholds in paths oblique a sacred light. 
Whence rapt from sense with energy divine. 
Before her eye immortal splendors shine, 
Whose plenteous rays in darkness most profound, 
Thy steps directed and illumined round. 
Nor was the vision like the dreams of sleep. 
But seen whUst vigUant you brave the deep ; 
While from your eyes you shake the gloom of night, 
The glorious prospect bursts upon your sight. ^ 

Open the compound creature ; look upon the ele- 
ments ; divide the elements, and you shall find the 
quintessential nature : open this, continues the adept, 
and you shall conceive the subtle altereity of the an- 
gelical spirit in which is the divine act, and immediate 
beam or Wisdom from God. In this work, therefore, 
there concurreth in the separation of the first, a sen- 
sible aspect, in the other we behold with intellectual 
eyes, so that you may observe how all is in everything, 
and everything in all. As Hermes alludes : Qui for- 
nacem cum vase nostro construit, novum mundum 
conflat. He that maketh a furnace with our glass to 
it maketh a new world ;^ — a new hypostasis, and a new 
stone, — even that Stone of the Apocalypse, the true 
crystalline rock without spot or darkness, that re- 
nowned Terra Maga in eethere clarificata, which carries 
in its belly wind and fire. Having got this fundamen- 
tal of a little new w^orld, says Vaughan, unite the 

1 Porphyry's Hymn to Plotinus, Select Works, Preface. 
- See Fludd's Mosaica, circa medio. 

218 More Esoteric View. 

heaven in triple proportion to the earth, and then 
apply a generative heat to both, and they will attract 
from above the atar-Jire of nature. So hast thou the 
p:lory of the whole world, therefore let all obscurity 
tiee before thee.^ This is the true Astrum Solis gotten 
and conceived, the mineral spiritual San which is the 
Perpetual Motion of the wise, and that Saturnian Salt 
which, develo})ed to intellect and made erect, subdues , 
all nature to his will. For it is the whole Demjjfgorgon, C . 
now actually animated, which before w^as made visible 
without its subject light ; but at length becoming 
ignited, reflects from out the dark abyss of being, as 
a luciferous wheel, with its radiant sections, all com- 
LriutJiCLUT^S i)rehending in their Law, as the Oracle again-bes ponkc > 

Fire, the derivation and dispenser of Fire, 
Whose hair pointed is seen in his native Light : 
Hence comes Saturn. 
The Sun Assessor beholding the Pure Pole. 

And this we take to be that midnight Sun of Apu- 
Icius, the ignited Stone of Anaxagoras, (for which that 
philosopher has suffered such abundant disrepute, 
under error that his allusion was to the luminary of 
this world). This is the triumphal Chariot of Anti- 
mony, the Armed Magnet of Hclvetius turned swiftly 
about the current axle of life, which is the Wheel of 
Fire signalized in Ezekiel, seen by the Hebrew pro- 
y phets, Moses, David, and Zachariah ; the Fiery 
Puiy^m/^i^ Chariot of the Cabul , called IMercaba, in which all 
things are transfigured ; and this is the Stone with 
the new name written in the Revelation and that Salt 
which the Saviour orders that we should have it in 
ourselves ; and is the same with the Prester of Zoro- 
aster which in the Chaldean sense means the Fire 
Spirit of Life, and is that Identity in all which sus- 
tains all by the efflux of His power — the supernatural 
centre of every living thing, the infinitely powerful 
and all-efficient making power. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 

^ Anima Magia, p. 50 ; TabuLa Smaragdina Hermetis. 


The Mysteries. 219 

with God, and the Word was God. The same was in 
the beginning with God. All things were made by 
Him ; and without Him was not any thing made that 
was made. In Him was Life ; and the Life was the 
Light of men. And the Light shineth in Darkness and 
the Darkness comprehended it not.^ 

And that Light shining in darkness, if men had ^ 
never known, how should they have asserted, -#r do <^ 
theologians invent such things in the present day ? 
Neither did they formerly invent, but what they knew 
and had seen declared. — To as many as received the 
Spirit to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, which were born not of blood, nor of the will of 
the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. — This 
therefore is that Power which is hidden in man, the 
true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into 
the world, if haply one might feel after Him and find 
Him. An enchanted treasury known only to the 
w^isely simple who have subdued their will to the Law 
of Wisdom, as Abraham did, as soon as he had gotten 
the creature into his hands. ^ 

We omit many things here relating to the mystical 
death and regeneration, which may be better under- 
stood when we come to treat of the manifestation of 
the Philosophic Subject ; adding merely at present, in 
conclusion from our doctors, that the grand perfection 
of their Art was to multiply the Prester and place him 
in the most supreme Ether, which is that Augean 
palace already prepared for him in the beginning ; 
where, as in a suitable habitation, he abides shining, not 
burning as below, or wrathful ; but vital, calm, trans- 
muting, recreating, and no longer a Consuming Fire. 
Intellige in scientia et sapias intelligentia : 
experire in tllis, et investiga illa, et nota, et 
cogita, et imaginare, et statue rem in integri- 


1 St. John's Gospel, chap. i. 
€A/ 2 Z^bii^ Jezirah, in fine. 

^ Idem, Liber de Creatione, Authore Abraham, cap. i. 

220 More Esoteric View 


The Jlli/stcries concluded. 

It behoves thee to hasten to the Light, and to the beams of the 
Father from Avhence vras sent to thee a sonl clothed with much 
mind. — Zoroastri Oracula, Anima, Corjms, Homo. 

IT is known concerning Hercules, that he performed 
his last labour in the Hesperidian region, and 
Olympiodorus, in his Commentary on the Gorgias of 
Plato, informs us what we are to understand by this. 
It is necessary to know, says he, that islands stand out 
of, as being higher than the sea ; a condition of be- 
ing, therefore, which transcends this corporeal life and 
generation is denominated the Islands of the Blessed ; 
and these are the same with the Elysian Fields. 
Hence Hercules is said to have accomplished his last 
labour in the Hesperidian region ; signifying by this, 
that having vanquished an obscure and terrestrial life, 
he afterwards lived in open day.^ For he dragged up 
Cerberus from hell, that is to say, he liberated the 
whole individual entity through a threefold evolution 
from the bond of its earthly geniture, and established 
it finally in the most exalted life. And those golden 
apples were a part also of the reward of his arcane and 
telestic labours; which Theseus, before him, was un- 
able to finish, being detained by his passions in the sea of 
sense. So Proclus understands the allegory, where he 
says that, being purified by sacred institutions and 
enjoying undefiled fruits, Hercules at length obtained 
an establishment among the gods. 

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere Causas, 
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile Fatum 
Subjecit Pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari ! 

Nature indeed, as a beneficent mother, offers the 

1 See Taylor's notes to hid rausanias, vol. iii. p. 215, the extract. 

The Mysteries. 221 

rich treasury of life to all, and the universal Father, 
it is said, keeps the gate of the fatal cavern open for 
the convenience of mankind. The descent, therefore, 
is allowed on all hands to be easy ; but the ascent 
otherwise, the gate indeed being so narrow, close, and 
difficult to discern, that there be few, and they im- 
mortals only, that are able to pass through. The allu- 
sion to these gates is frequent in antiquity, and that of 
Homer in the thirteenth book of the Odyssey, describ- 
ing the cave in Ithaca has been the subject of many 

A lofty gate unfolds on either side, 

That to the North is pervious to mankind. 

The Sacred South t' immortals is consigned. 

That the poet does not narrate these particulars 
from historical information or misinformation either is 
very evident. For neither if there had been any geo- 
graphical ground for such a description, could he have 
hoped to gain belief for the persistent allegory, thus 
artificially opening up a path to gods and men in the 
region of Ithaca. But the wise Porphyry, after com- 
bating many erroneous opinions, explains that where- 
as the northern gate pertains to souls descending into 
the realms of generation, and the "ftortbe^n- to souls ■^i 
ascending to divinity ; we ought to obsei-ve, on this 
account, that Homer does not say indeed that this last 
is a passage of the gods but of immortals : signifying 
by this, souls wdiich are per se, that is to say, essen- 
tially immortal.^ For nothing but the subtlety of an 
immortal essence, and that by regeneration, can pass 
into immortality. And here we may better conceive, per- 
haps, the value of that Golden Branch, which, attracted 
from the first to its native soil, indifferent to every 
other lure, through death and darkness enters ; and 
taking root at last, gathers strength to germinate and 
blossom, as a radiant flower, overspreading and illu- 
minating the surrounding wilderness of life. The 

1 Porphyry on the Cave of the Nymphs, sub init. 

222 More Esoteric View. 

sudden transition from the horrid reahns of Tartarus, 
forms an admirable contrast in that part of the iEneid 
where the hero, having passed the Stygian border, 
goes forth to meet his father in the Elysian Fields, 

Devenere locos laetos, et amoena vireta 
Fortunatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas. 
Largior liic campos ^■Ether et Liiniine vestit 
Purpureo: solemqiie suum, sua siclera norunt.' 

This divine ethereal purpled verdure, this meadow 
of Divine Ideas, or Fratum, as the Oracle denotes it, 
, is a place well known to philosophers ; the Alchemists 
CL4^J^ in general call it their garden, tet Flammel, in his 
Summary, includes the Mountain of the Seven Metals, 
saying, — the philosophers have indeed a garden where 
the sun as well morning as evening remains with a 
most sweet dew ; whose earth brings forth trees and 
fruits which are transplanted thither, which also re- 
ceive nourishment from the pleasant meadows. And 
if thou wouldest come hither and find good, betake 
thyself to the mountain of the Seven, where there is 
no plain, and look down from the highest downward 
to the Sixth, which you will see afar off; in the top- 
most height, you will find a royal herb triumphing, 
which some call mineral, some vegetable, some satur- 
nine.^ For it is either and all, which Vaughan de- 
scribes as the rendezvous of all spirits, where Ideas 
as they descend from above, are conceived and incor- 
porated. But it is a delicate and pleasant region, he 
says, as it were in the suburbs of heaven. Those 
seven mystic mountains, whereupon grow the roses 
and lilies, are the outgoings of Paradise mention- 
ed in Esdras, and the Planetary Sphere of Sendivogius, 
and that most flimous tincture of the Sapphiric Mine: 
which is in truth the cleansed Augean, the already 
prepared medial receptacle of the new-born light ; and 
no sooner does this arise than all the vegetable colours, 
before obliterated in darkness, return to neutralize 

1 G38. 

- Flammolli Suinimila, in fine, and INTaria Practica. 

The Mysteries. 223 

their poison and restore the suspended circulation to a 
conscious equiUbriate accord. This is Elysium, the 
enclosed garden of Solomon, where God condescends 
to walk and drink of the sealed fountain ; the true 
Terrestrial Paradise, which some have called nox cor- 
poris, the night of body or corporeal sleep, a term 
made more intelligible by the apposite saying of 
Heraclitus, concerning souls in that condition, that wc 
live their death ami die their life. In these meadows 
therefore the souls of the dead are said to inhabit, 
souls dead indeed to this life, yet more alive in that. 
For converted to externals, we desert our best life un- 
consciously as Empedocles says, 

Heaven's exiles straying from the orb of light. 

But philosophers are said continually to have visited 
this place, as we read for instance concerning the ha- / 
bitation of R. C, Vidi aliquando Olympic^is domos, /o^ 
non procul a Fluviolo et civitate nota quas Sanctus ^ 
Spiritus vocari imaginamur. Helicon est de quo lo- 
quar, aut biceps Parnassus, in quo Equus Pegasus 
fontem aperuit perennis aquae adhuc stillantem, in 
quo Diana se lavat, cui Venus ut Pedissequa et Sa- 
turnus ut anteambulo, conjunguntur. Intelligenti 
nimium inexperto minimum hoc erit dictum. To 
clear the prospect a little, therefore, Vaughan adds this 
description of the Indian Brachman's abode. I have 
seen, says Apollonius, the Brachmans of India dwell- 
ing on the earth and not on the earth ; they were 
guarded without walls invisibly, and possessing no- 
thing, they enjoyed all things.^ In such a place the 
Oracle told AmeUus the soul of Great Plotinus was, 

Ubi Amicitia est, ubi ciipido visu mollis, 
Pnrae plenus laetitise, et sempiternis rivis 
Ambrosiis irrigatus a Deo ; nnde sunt amorum 
Eetinacula, dulcis spii-itus et tranquilliis ^ther 
Aurei generis magni Jovis. 

By such clear and rapid rivers of supernal light the 
• Fama et Confessio, E. C. Preface by Yaughan. 

224 More Esoteric View. 

adoring Sybil drew her inspiration, and by sucli, ac- 
cording to the Orphic poet, the god Apollo even loved 
to contemplate. 

Omnia quae Phoebo quondam meditante beatus 
Audiit Eurotas, &c. 

There are three modes of human vision recorded by 
St. Augustin ; the first external, and belongs to the 
outward eye; the second that of imagination, by which 
representations are visible to the internal sense ; the 
third is anagogic,and an intellectual sight, drawn above, 
by which intelligible species are beheld, as a pure 
infusion of hght to the understanding. The first 
mode is familiar, the second has been already discussed ; 
but this third vision of the light is in Elysium : wdiere 
the eye of mind, no longer as heretofore looking from 
without inwardly, beholds its object through the at- 
mosphere of the natural life ; but contrariwise, having 
passed through this, purifying to the centre, is con- 
verted and raised; and, as a Unit, now regards the 
circumference transitively, including it as an under- 
standing or reflector, as it were, to the focus of her 
light. Porphyry beautifully resembles this mode of 
being to a fountain, not fiow^ing outwardly, but cir- 
cularly scattering its streams into itself. And thus 
there is an assimilation established, as near as may be 
in consciousness , of the self knowing and the self 
known ; yet with this motion of the soul, time is con- 
subsistent, as changing her conceptions, she passes 
from one to another according to the self motion of 
her essence, and through her eye being directed to the 
survey of the different forms which she contains, and 
which have the relation of parts to her whole essence ; 
but eternity is consubsistent only with the permanence 
of intellect in itself.^ And thus, though there is a 
grade above ; yet this is the Intellection in Elysium 
where the exemplary Image of the Universal Nature 
also is revealed as in that Athanor of Hermes before 

' Sec Porphyry's Aid to Inte]lip;il>les. Taylor, p. 237. 

The Mysteries. 225 

mentioned, or furnace having a glass to it, that sin- 
gular fundamental of his small new world. 

And the life in the intelligible world consists thence- 
forth in intellectually energizing, and this energy, dis- 
tinguishing, desiring, understanding within itself simul- 
taneously, generates Light through a perpetual tranquil 
and quiet contact with the Principle of things. And 
the calm delight of Being there in universal harmony, 
the truthful visions, scenery, occupations and integral 
intelligence are pictured with all the vivid colouring of 
that experienced poet's soul ; and will be rightly under- 
stood as an unfolding of the embryo life, the nourish- 
ment and education of the understanding vehicle now 
standing in open presence before its Archetypal Light ; 
according to which also it perfects all the new-born at- 
tributes, as of justice, beauty, charity, hope, every fa- 
culty, sentiment and desire in orderly relation under the 
dominion of reason ; and evolves the total harmony of 
nature, and all specific variety in her originating source. 
— The sun shines but for us, exclaims the chorus of the 
Initiated in Aristophanes ; we alone receive the glory 
of his beams ; for us alone the meadows are enameled 
with flowers ; even for us, who are initiated and who 
have learned to perform all acts of piety and justice.' 
Nor is it without reason that the river Eridanus is said 
by Virgil to pass through those celestial abodes ; for 
this indicates the prolific flow of spirit which accedes 
spontaneously from the occult energy of such a life. 
Taylor has admirably set forth these particulars of the 
poet in his Dissertation ; and that the most abundant 
spectacles and powers are belonging to those Elysian 
fountains is shown by Proclus, in his fourth book On 
the Theology, in which also he relates that Theurgists 
placed their chief hopes of salvation : for the plain of 
Truth, he says, is intellectually expanded to intelligible 
Light and is splendid with the illuminations which pro- 
ceed from thence ; and as the one (subjective identity) 
emits by illumination intelligible light so the intelligible 
(objective entity) imparts to secondary natures a parti- 
1 In Eamis, act i. 

226 More Esoteric View. 

cipation productive of essence. But the Meadow is 
the proUfic power of hfe, accordmg to Plato, and of 
all various reasons, and is the comprehension of the 
First Efficient causes of life and the generation of 
Forms : for the meadows also which are here, con- 
tinues the gi'eat exponent, are productive of all va- 
rious forms and reasons and bear water which is the 
symbol of vivitication.^ And here the metaphysician 
accords with the ancient physiologists and alchemists, 
who, experimentally searching, were said to prove the 
Universal Identity of Nature on the ontological 
ground ; reproducing the whole material principle to 
sense and visibility fi'om the dissolution of the spirit in 
its proper kind without alloy. But intending to speak 
of these material rewards of initiation hereafter, and of 
this Water especially, we pass onward for the present 
to introduce the self-conspicuous and prolific goddess 
herself, according to Apuleius' most eloquent an- 
nouncement, appearing in the Eleusinian Fane. 

Moved by thy prayers, O Lucius ! behold, I am 
come ! I, who am Nature, the parent of all things, 
the Queen of all the elements, the primordial pro- 
geny of ages, the supreme of divinities, the sovereign 
of the spirits of the dead, the first of coelestials, and 
the uniform resemblance of gods and goddesses ; I, 
who rule by my nod the luminous summit of the 
heavens, the salubrious breezes of the sea, and the 
deplorable silences of the realms beneath ; and whose 
one divinity the whole orb of the earth venerates un- 
der a manifold form, by different rites and a variety of 
appellations. Hence the primordial Phrygians call 
me Pessinuntica ; the Attic Aborigines, Cecropian 
Minerva; the floating Cyprians, Paphian Venus ; the 
arrow -bearing Cretans, Diana Dyctynna ; the three- 
tongued Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine ; and the Eleu- 
sinians, the ancient Goddess Ceres. Some also call me 
Juno ; others, Bellona ; others, Hecate ; and others, 
Rhamnusia. And those who are illuminated by the 

1 Proclus, on the Theology of Plato, book iv. cap. \ ii. Tractatus 
Aureus, cap. iii. 

The Mysteries. 227 

incipient rays of that divinity, the Sun, when he 
rises, viz., the Ethiopians and the Arii, and the Egyp- 
tians skilled in ancient learning, worshipping me by 
ceremonies perfectly appropriate, call me by my true 
name, Queen Isis. Behold then, I, commiserating 
thy calamities, am present, favouring and propitious ; 
dismiss now tears and lamentations, and expel sor- 
row ; for now the salutary day will shine upon thee. 
Listen therefore attentively to these my mxandates. 
The religion which is eternal has consecrated to me 
the day which will be born of this night; on which 
day my priests offer to me the jirst fruits of ??aviga- 
tion, dedicating to me a ?/etv ship, when now the ivi?i- 
ter tempests are mitigated and the stormy ivaves of the 
deep are appeased, and the sea itself has now become 
navigable. That sacred ceremony you ought to ex- 
pect with a mind neither solicitous nor profane. For 
the priest, being admonished by me, shall bear a rosy 
crown in his right hand adhering to the rattle, in the 
precinct of the pomp. Without delay therefore cheer- 
fully follow, confiding in my benevolence. When you 
approach the priest, gently pluck the roses as if you 
intended to kiss his hand, and immediately divest 
yourself of the hide of that worst of beasts, and which 
for some time since has been to me detestable.^ Nor 
should you fear anything pertaining to my concerns as 
difficult — only remember and always retain it de- 
posited in the penetralia of your mind, that the re- 
maining course of your life must be dedicated to me, 
even to the boundary of your latest breath. Nor is it 
unjust that you should owe your whole life to that 
goddess by whose assistance you will return to the Hu- 
man Form. But you will live happy, and you will 
live glorious under my protection : and when, having 
passed through the allotted space of your life, you de- 
scend (once more) to the realms beneath, there also in 

1 It will be remembered that Lucius entered upon this initia- 
tion under the guise of an ass, into which he had been previously 
transformed, which guise the oracle also had announced shovild 
not depart from him until he had eaten of some flowering roses. 

Q 2 

228 More Esoteric View. 

the subterranean hemisphere, you dwelling in the 
Elysian Fields, shall frequently adore me whom you 
now see, and shall there behold me shining amidst the 
darkness of Acheron, reigning in the Stygian Pene- 
traha, and being propitious to you. Moreover, if you 
shall be found to deserve the protection of my divinity, 
by sedulous obedience, religious services, and inviola- 
ble chastity, you shall know^ that it is possible for me 
to extend your life beyond the limits appointed to it by 

The venerable Oracle being thus finished, adds the 
philosopher, the invincible goddess receded into herself; 
and without delay, I, being liberated from sleep, im- 
mediately arose, seized with fear and joy, and in an 
excessive perspiration, and in the highest degree ad- 
miring so manifest a presence of the powerful goddess ; 
having sprinkled myself with marine dew, and intent 
upon her great commands, I revolved in my mind the 
order of her mandates ; shortly after too the sun 
arose, and put to flight the darkness of black niglit.^ 
The dragon shuns the sun's beams which look through 
the crevices, and the dead son lives — and the now 
vessel, purified and holy, is brought into the Eleu- 
sinian temple, to be consecrated. in Light. Not, as 
some have imagined, a crystal night-lamp or magic- 
lanthorn, cleansed for the consumption of the best 
olive oil, to dazzle the ignorant or instruct beholders 
with artificial emblems of natural science ; but a far 
more pelhicid gas-lamp, an infallible gasometer, able to 
hold and sustain and measure simultaneously, even 
within itself to kindle a perpetual flame, shining in 
equilibriate constancy about the sufiicient fuel of all 
life. As Apuleius further apostrophizing the same 
divinity, continues — Thou rollest the heavens round 
the steady poles, dost illuminate the sun, govern the 
world, and tread on the dark realms of Tartarus. 
The stars move responsive to thy command, the gods 
rejoice in thy divinity, the hours and seasons return 

Apiilphis. Metam. bonk x"!. Taylor, p. 263, Szc. 


The Mysteries. 229 

by thy appointment, and the elements reverence thy 

All which is readily admissible of the Universal Na- 
ture ; and, if we may believe the experienced, we are not 
cut off from this fountain, but attracted out from it ; 
which supplies all things with life perpetually, so that 
we are what we are by its influence ; but in turn re- 
ceiving the impressure of foreign forms, passions, 
accidents, and evil generations, the passive purity is 
defiled and obscured, and unconscious of that inner 
light which lives in reality; of which the present life is 
a mere vestige and a comparative diminution of exist- 
ence, an imitation, as it were, of that which is absolute 
and real ; whose spontaneous revelation in a purifled 
soul imparts virtue with understanding, and universal 
knowledge, health of body, and long length of days ; 
riches as from the Causal fountain of all things, and 
felicity in communion with all. It also emits light 
accompanied with harmony of intellection, and finally 
exhibits a form of such rarified effulgence that the eye /; 

of mind, all the while^ regarding, is drawn to contactj^ °>^^7^ 
suddenly, unable longer to sustain itself alone. This 
is the method and arcane principle of Self- Knowledge, 
and the narrow way of regeneration into life ; and so 

great is the tenuity and attractive subtilty of the Di- 

vine Nature, says yfamblicus, that the initiated, when _/^ 
surveying it, are affected in the same manner as fishes, 
when they are drawn upwards from the dark and / 
turbid waters into the diaphanous clear air ; becoming /^ 
languid as soon as they perceive it, and deprived of the 
use of their connascent spirit.^ For to this spirit the 
vision in Hades is allied which is borne through with- 
out much disturbance of the common life ; but, when 
the central magnet moves to the ascent, this expi- 
ration is described as taking place ; a liberation is 
effected through agony, as it were of death, the cir- 
culation oscillates, and the soul, coalescing with its ve- 



Apuleius, Metam. book xi. 

/amblicus on the Mysteries, Taylor, p. 100. 

230 More Esoteric View. 

hide, transcends free from corporeal hinderance into the 
Elysian hght. That was the rosy crown of which the 
Hierophant was to assist Apuleius' Lucius to partake, 
when he was enabled to put off the hide of that worst of 
beasts, and re-enter into the Divine Form of humanity. 
Wherefore, O ye asses ! cries Agrippa, in condemnation, 
which are now^ with your children under the command- 
ment of Christ by his Apostles, the messengers and 
readers of true Wisdom in his Gospel, be you loosed 
from the darkness of the flesh and blood, ye that de- 
sire to attain to true Wisdom ; not of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil, but of the tree of life : 
setting apart all traditions of men and discourse of the 
flesh and blood whatsoever it be ; entering not either 
into the schools of other philosophers, but into your- 
selves, ye shall know" all things, for the knowledge of 
all things is compact in you : even as God hath cre- 
ated trees full of fruits, so hath he created the soul as 
a reasonable tree full of forms and knowledges : but 
through the sin of the first parent all things were 
opened ; and oblivion, the mother of ignorance, step- 
ped in. Set you then now aside who may, con- 
tinues the magician, the veil of your understanding, 
wiio are wrapped in the darkness of ignorance : Cast 
o out the drink of Lethe, you which have made your- 
selves drunken with forgetfulness, and wait for the 
True Light, you wfeich have suffered yourselves to be 
overtaken with unreasonable sleep ; and forthwith, 
when your face is discovered, ye shall pass from the 
light to light, ^ and from glory to glory, as the Apostle 
says — from the light of the senses to the illumination 
of reason, and from reason through its topmost faith 
into the substantive glorification of all. 

'Twas in a golden cup 
That Helius passed, 
Helius, Hyperion's son. 
O'er floods and oceans wafted far away. 

To Erebus he went, and tlie sad realms of night 
His aged parent there he found, 

^ Vanity of the Sciences, in conclusion. 

The Mysteries. 231 

And the kind consort fQ his better days, <^- 

And all his blooming offspring. ^ 

Then to the sacred grove he sped, 
The sacred grove of laurel. 

And this strain brings us to the final purpose of 
iEneas who, going forth to meet his father^ in the 
Elysian fields, has the whole Epopteia opened to him 
— the Pantheistic revealment of the Universal Nature, 
her secret foundation, the soul's essence, origin, hin- 
derances, and proper end. 

Principio coelum, ac terras, camposque liquentes 

Lucentemque globum Lunse, Titaniaque astra 

Spiritus intus alit, totamque iufusa per artus 

Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet. 

Inde homimmi pecudumque genus vitfeque volantum, 

Et quae marmoreo fert monstra sub jequore pontus. 

Igneus est ollis vigor, et coelestis origo 

Seminibus : quantum non noxia corpora tardant, 

Terrenique hebetant artus, moribundaque membra. 

Hinc metuuut cupiuntque dolent gaudentque neque auras 

Eespiciunt, claus* tenebris et carcere caeco. 

Quin et supremo cum lumine vita reliquit : 

Non tamen omne malum miseris, nee funditus omnes 

Corpoi'eae excedunt pestes ; penitusque necesse est 

Multa diu concreta modis inolescere miris. 

Ergo exercentur poenis, veterumque malorum 

Supplicia expendunt. Aliie panduntur iuanes 

Suspensa; ad ventos : aliis sub gurgite vasto 

Infectum eluitur scelus, aut exuritur igni. 

Quisque suos patimur maues. Exinde per amplum 

Mittimur Elysium, et pauci laeta arva tenemus : 

Donee longa dies perfecto temporis orbe 

Concretam exemit labem, pur^imque reliquit 

jEthereum sensum, atque aurai simplicis ignem.' 

This initiation to the Paternal abode which, accord- 
ing to the Alexandrian Platonists, opens the whole of 
the divine paths and media by which the soul becomes 
finally fitted for establishment under the coelestial cir- 
culation of her Law, exhibits in progress likewise the 
self-splendid appearances of the true gods, which are 
both entire and firm, and expand to the mystic inspec- 
tion of all intelligibles ; as Socrates explains in Phse- 
drus : For telete precedes muesis, and muesis, epopteia. 

1 ^neid, lib. vi. 724. 

232 More Esoteric View. 

Hence, says he, we are initiated {tckioametha) in 
ascending by the perfective gods. But we view with 
closed eyes, i. e. with the pure soul itself {muoumetlia) 
entire and stable appearances, through the connective 
gods, with whom there is the intellectual wholeness 
^ and the firm establishment of souls. And we become 

Ca^/ fixed in, and spectators of {cp^ptclfomcn) the intel- 
/ ligible watch-tower, through the gods who are col- 

lectors of wholes ; we speak, indeed, of all these things 
as with reference to the intelligible, but we obtain a 
different thing according to a diflPerent order. For the 
perfective gods initiate us in the intelligible through 
themselves ; as the collective monads are through 
themselves the leaders of intelligibles. And there are 
indeed many steps of ascent, but all of them extend 
to the Paternal port and the Paternal initiation.^ 

To find the Hero, for whose only sake 

We sought the dark abodes and crossed the bitter lake. 

For the Paternal is the first source of life, and the 
last into wdiich the conscience is initiated ; and the 
re-birth and re-creation of this principle in the Free 
Ether, prepared for it, is the end and plenitude of ini- 
tiatory rites. 

In Taylor's notes to his Pausanias we find an extract 
from an ancient writer, Asclepius Trallianus, wherein 
the etymon of ao(^ia, Wisdom, is derived from roa^e^;, 
the conspicuous and the clear. Thus — what is Wisdom? 
We reply, that it is a certain clearness, as being that 
which renders all things conspicuous. From w^ience 
was this word clearness denominated ? We reply, from 
light. Since, therefore, the clear is accustomed to lead 
into light and knowledge things concealed in the 
darkness of ignorance ; on this account, concludes the 
writer, it is thus denominated. Thus, also, Minerva 
is sometimes called Phosphor, as being the bearer and 
measure of the Demiurgic Fire. And what arc all the 
gods but manifestations of this same Fire germinating 
through the projecting energy of Intellect distinct in 

1 Proclus on the Theology of Plato, book iv. chap. xxvi. 

The Mysteries. 233 

Light ? In its lucid understanding, stable expanse, Mi- 
nerva ; in its golden radiance and ideality, Apollo ; 
shining forth in beauty, warmth, and infinite attrac- 
tion, Venus ; in its concentrated flashing force, Mars ; 
in compact impenetrable purity, the chaste Diana ; 
penetrating in all the variety of perspicuous thought 
and imagination, the winged Mercury ; in its universal 
fabricative virtue and beneficence, the Demiurgic Ju- 
piter ; and thenceforth downward and upward from 
the last to the first ineffable Phanes, before Saturn, or 
that ancient Cybele, proceeded to manifestation by will 
in time. 

Then nor the sun's swift members splendid shone 
But in dense harmony established lay 
Concealed ; eternity's revolving sphere 
Eejoicing round its centre firm to roll. 

Until, as the poet goes on to explicate, by the fan- 
ning of the celestial ether set in motion, 

Then all the members of the god appeared.^ 

And the nourishing cause of these gods is said to 
be a certain intelligible union, comprehending in itself 
the whole intellectual progression, and filling the Ethe- 
real Hypostasis with acme and power. All the gods, 
says Plotinus, are beautiful, and their splendour is in- 
tense. What else, however, is it but Intellect through 
which they are such ? and because Intellect energizes in 
them in so great a degree, as to render them visible by 
its Light. For they are not at one time wise, and at 
another destitute of wisdom, but they are always wise, 
in an impassive, stable, and pure Intellect ; seeing 
such things as Intellect itself sees, they occupy and 
pervade without ceasing the whole of that blissful re- 
gion. For the life there is unattended with labour, 
and Truth is their generator and nutriment, their es- 
sence and their nurse. '^ Plato also by Socrates nar- 
rating the mode of ascent to the InteUigible Beauty, 

' Empedocles, Physics. 

- Plotinus on the Beautiful and the Three Hypostases. 

234 More Esoteric View. 

and how, following the divine leaders they became 
partakers of the same, concludes — It was then lawful 
to survey splendid Beauty, where we obtained together 
with that happy choir, this blessed vision and contem- 
plation ; and we indeed enjoyed this fehcity, following 
the choir together with Jupiter, but others in conjunc- 
tion with some other god ; at the same time beholding 
and being initiated in those mysteries which it is law- 
ful to call the most blessed of all mysteries. And 
these divine orgies were celebrated by us while we 
were perfect and free from those evils which awaited 
us in a succeeding period of time ; ice liktivise ivere 
initiated in and became spectators of entire, simple, 
quietly stable, and blessed visions, resident in a Pure 
Light ; being ourselves pure and liberated from this sur- 
roundi)ig vestment, which ice denominate body, and to 
which we are bound like an oyster to its shell. And 
Beauty, continues the divine narrator, shone upon us 
during our progressions with the gods : but on our ar- 
rival hither, we possessed the power of perceiving it, 
through the clearest of our senses.^ Not, let us be- 
lieve with Dr. Warburton, " a mere illuminated image, 
which the priest had purified," for indeed his whole 
account of the institution is absurd ; but when we con- 
sider to what Plato really alludes, by those simple and 
blessed visions resident in a pure light, we can no 
longer wonder why the initiated were called happy and 
reported to have been blessed ; ^ since through initi- 
ation, they were conjoined with the total deity and 
intellectual perfection of their leaders, and were re- 
plenished with the divine essentiality. And the being 
entire is derived to souls from equilibriate circulation 
in their Ether ; which contains, and is connective of all 
the Divine genera. Everything, however, which in the 
whole contains parts, comprehends also that which is 
divided, and collects that which is various into union 
and simplicity. But the quiet, stable, and simple 
visions, are unfolded to souls supernally, as Proclus 

1 Phfedrus, Taylor, vol. iii. p. 327 and following. 

^ See Taylor's observations in the note on this passage, p. 327. 

The Mysteries. 235 

explains from the supercelestial place. And so those 
gods and those powers that follow the gods reveal 
themselves each in his particular form or essence of 
light, but by no means extend themselves as figured 
phantasms, such as the mind before beheld in Hades 
from its own self-shadowing creative fancy. For 
wherefore should they be supposed to exhibit these ? 
Is it not evident that their characteristic would be far 
better expressed by their simple idea living in the un- 
derstanding, than by any other figured light or repre- 
sentation? By no means, therefore, says Jamblicus, 
does Divinity either transform himself into phantasms 
nor extend these from himself to other things, but 
emits illuminations, true representations of himself in 
the true manner of souls. And truth, he adds, is co- 
existent with the gods, in the same manner as light 
with the sun. For as all other things, such as are 
principal, primarily begin from themselves, and impart 
to themselves that which they give to others ; as for 
instance, in essence, in life, and in motion ; thus also 
the natures which supply all beings with truth pri- 
marily proclaim the truth themselves, and precedane- 
ously unfold the essence of themselves to the specta- 
tors. Hence likewise they exhibit to Theurgists a Fire 
which is itself, to itself, visible.^ Let no one there- 
fore wonder, says Proclus, the gods being essentially 
in one simplicity according to transparency, if various 
phantasms are hurled forth before the presence of 
them ; nor if they, being uniform, should in their ap- 
pearance be multiform, as we have learned in the most 
perfect Mysteries. For nature and the demiurgic in- 
tellect extend corporeal formed images of things cor- 
poreal, sensible images of things intelligible, and those 
without interval, since all things are an emanation from 
these. ^ And thus the soul, when looking at things 
posterior to herself, beholds the shadows only and 
images of true being ; but, wdien she converts herself to 
herself, she evolves her own Essence, and the vivific 

1 /amblicus ou the Mysteries, cliap. x. Taylor, p. 106. 

2 On the Theology, book i. chap xx. 


•236 More Esoteric View. 

reasons which she contains. And at first, indeed, 
she only as it were percei ves. herself ; but, when she 
penetrates more profoundly for the examination of 
herself, she finds in herself both understanding and 
the Reason of created beings. When however she pro- 
ceeds into her interior recesses and into the Adytum of 
Life, as the great theologist declares, she perceives, with 
the eye closed as it were, the genus of the gods, which 
are the Unities of all being : for all things are in us 
psychically, that is to say, in the efficient Reason of 
our life, and through this, when it is developed, we are 
capable of knowing all things, by exciting the images 
and powers of the Whole which we contain. And 
this has been said to be the best employment of our 
energy, to be extended to a Divine nature, and having 
our individual powers at rest, to revolve harmoniously 
round it, to excite all the multitude of the soul to this 
union ; and laying aside all such things as are pos- 
terior to the One, to become seated and conjoined to 
that which is ineffable and beyond all things.^ 

It is satisfactory to observ^e how these ancients, w^ith 
one accord, dismiss all visions which take place dur- 
ing the imperfect self-activity of the human mind as 
ai'bitrary and untrustworthy ; how well they had 
learned to discriminate, and how very absolute and 
clear a line they draw between enthusiasm and fanati- 
cism, between the shadowy world of imaginative vi- 
sion and the light of the true gods : nor will any one, 
profoundly considering their assertions, doubt about 
the origin or respect due to these divinities, which, 
as an emanative splendour from the Causal Fountain, 
make manifest in energy its intellectual Law. 

"What though in solemn silence all 
Move round this dark terrestrial ball 
In Reason's ear they all rejoice, 
And utter still their glorious voice. 
For ever singing as they shine, 
" The Hand that moves ns is divine.''^ 

' Idem, chap. iii. 

■^ Blackwell's Mythology, lett. 8. 

The Mysteries. 237 

Or, as the Mathematician paints it, 

En tibi Norma Poli — ! en divse Libramina Molis ! 
Computus en Jovis ! et quas dum primordia rerum 
Couderet, omnipotens sibi leges ipse Creator 
Dixerit, et Operis qufe Fundamenta locarit. 

And here again we take occasion to observe that it 
is indeed by divine Media, and not a mere conception 
of the mind or metaphysical abstraction, either that 
Theurgists are conjoined to the Divine nature ; since, 
if this were the case, what would hinder those who 
philosophize theoretically from participating of this ^ 
union ? which they do not ; hs^ the perfect efficacy of ^ 
ineffable works, says ^amblicus, which are divinely 7~^ 
performed, in a way surpassing all ordinary intelli- ' 
gence and the power of inexplicable symbols which 
are known only to the gods themselves, impart The- 
urgic union. Hence we do not perform these things 
through intellectual perception ; since, if this were the 
case, the intellectual energy of them would be im- 
parted by us, neither of which is true : for when we 
do not energize intellectually (all preparative conditions 
having been fulfilled,) the Synthemata, i. e. the Theur- 
gic aids and media themselves, perform by themselves 
their proper work ; and the ineffable power of the gods 
itself, knows by itself its own images. It does not 
however know them, as if excited by our intelhgence; 
for neither is it natural that things which comprehend 
should be excited by those that are comprehended, 
nor perfect by imperfect natures, nor wholes by parts; 
hence neither are divine causes prooodancously called pAe^jx^u-u^i 
into energy by our intellections ; but it is requisite to 6 

consider these and all the best dispositions of the soul, 
and also the purity pertaining, as certain concauses ; 
the things which properly excite the Divine will being 
the Divine Synthemata themselves : and thus things 
pertaining to the gods are moved by themselves, and 
do not receive from an inferior nature {i.e. to say, 
from the regardant subject) the principle of their 

238 More Esoteric View. 

energy.' As the Chaldaic Oracle likewise in its own 
operative language declares : 

And tliese things I revolve in the recluse temples of my mind : 

Extending tlie like fire sparklingly into the spacious air, 

To put into the mind the symbol of variety, 

And not to walk dispersedly on the empyreal channels, but stiffly : 

For the king did set before the world an intellectual incorrupti- 
ble pattern. 

This print through the world, he promoting, accordingly ap- 

Beautified with all kinds of Ideas of which there is one Fountain. 

Intellectual notions from the Paternal Fountain cropping the 
Flower of Fire — 

And to these Intellectual Presters of Intellectual Fire all tilings 
are subservient by the persuasive will of the Fatlier. 

Having put on the completely armed vigour of resounding Light, 
with triple strength, fortifying the soul and the mind. 

O how the world hath Intellectual guides inflexible ! ^ 

So did Theurgic rites, by the medium of the pas- 
sive Ether, unfold the embryo vigour of her newly 
conceived life ; awakening intellect into reminiscence 
and filling it with the conscious reasons of things 
manifest and occult ; and as it were by an obstetric 
hand and action, bringing forth the total nature and 
ornamenting it with Light. For Wisdom here enacts 
the part of a discreet mother, who having educated 
her son and furnished him with understanding, bids 
him use it, exercising him in every virtue and theo- 
retic discipline for the final conversion and accom- 
plishment of his soul. And if the education has been 
complete and the discipline perfect, says Porphyry, 
the whole inferior powers will range in harmonious 
concord about their proper rule, and will so venerate 
this Reason, as to be indignant if they are at all self- 
moved, in consequence of not being quiet when their 
master is present; and will reprove themselves for 
their imbecility, so that the motions themselves will 

' ^amblicus on the Myst. chap. xi. Taylor, p. 109. 
- Oracula Chaldaica. 

The Mysteries. 239 

be dissolved through their proximity to the reasoning 
power. ^ 

But the government of the natural hfe is oHgar- 
chical, ahnost an anarchy, where there is no perma- 
nently accepted leader of the whole ; but each motive 
rising, as it were, becomes an usurper of a vacant 
throne ; and external institutions imaged from thence 
accordingly are selfish, conflicting, and unhappy. Yet 
observing how the faculties of the common mind rally 
about the standard of each tyrant motive, as it ac- 
cedes, and how the highest are thus often made to 
subserve the low^est ends, how covetousness, ambition, 
and envy, and pride will erect and manifest themselves 
in the circumstances of individual and social life, and 
stamp their character on nations, and obscure the 
perception of every other good ; we may gather from 
thence a passable though faint conception of the Al- 
mighty Force that moves about the Rational Magnet, 
and how the Presters of Intellectual Fire follow in ra- 
diant order the W'ill of their First Cause. Under such 
a monarch indeed, when once he is established, no dis- 
sensions w^ould be likely to arise, but the inferior 
powers will so venerate his leading motive that they 
will move only according to his movement, pursuing 
constantly in observant order his infallible rule. 

Fire, says the adept philosopher, is the purest and 
most worthy of all the elements and its substance is 
the finest of all ; for this w as first of all elevated in 
the creation with the throne of Divine Majesty. This 
nature is of all the most quiet and like unto a chariot, 
wdien it is drawai, it runs ; when it is not drawn, it 
stands still. It is also in all things indiscernibly. In 
it are the reasons of life and understanding, which 
are distributed in the first infusion of man's life, and 
these are called the rational soul, by which alone man 
differs from other creatures and is like to God. This 
soul w^as of that most pure fire, infused by God into 
the vital spirit, by reason of wdiich man, after the 

1 Aids to ] ntellig^ sect. 2. 

240 More Esoteric View. 

creation of all things, was created into a particular 
world or microcosm. In this subject, God, the Crea- 
tor of all things, put his seal and majesty, as m the 
purest and quietest subject, wdiich is governed by 
the will and infinite wisdom of God alone. Where- 
fore God abhors all impurity ; nothing that is filthy 
or compounded, or blemished may come near Him, 
therefore, no mortal man can see God, or come to 
Him naturally. For that Fire which is in the circum- 
ference of the Divinity, in which is carried the seal 
and majesty of the ]\Iost High, is so intense, that no 
eye can penetrate it ; for Fire will not suffer anything 
that is compounded to come near to it: but is the 
death and separation of everything that is com- 
pounded. We have said that it is the most quiet sub- 
ject ; so it is, or else it w^ould follow that God could 
not rest ; but it is of a most quiet silence in itself 
more than any man's mind can imagine. Thou hast 
an example of this in the flint, in which there is fire, 
and yet is not perceived, neither doth appear until it is 
stirred up by motion, and kindled in it that it may ap- 
pear. So the Fire in wdiich is placed the sacred ma- 
jesty of our Creator, is not moved unless it be stirred 
up by the proper wall of the Most High, and so is 
carried where His holy will is. There is made by the 
W\\\ of the Supreme Maker of things a most vehe- 
ment and terrible motion. Thou hast an example of 
this, when any monarch of this world sits in state ; 
what a quietness there is about him, what a silence, 
and although some one of his court doth move, the 
motion is only of some one or other particular man, 
in an order which is not regarded. But when the 
Lord himself moves, there is a universal stir and mo- 
tion, then all that attend on him move with him. 
What then, when that Supreme Monarch, the King of 
kings, and Maker of all things (after whose example 
the princes of this world are established) doth move 
in his own majesty ? What a stir ! What a trem- 
bling, when the whole guard of this heavenly army 
move about him ! But some one may ask, how do we 

The Mysteries. 241 

know these things, since heavenly things are hid from 
man's understanding? To whom we answer, that 
the}'^ are manifest to philosophers into whom the in- 
comprehensible Deity has inspired his own Wisdom.^ 

For the total Reason is in this life of ours hidden, as 
the fire in fuel that is not kindled, or as gold in the 
dark ore unseen — our Iron, our Red Earth, our Load- 
stone, celeberrimus ille microcosmos et Adam, in which 
we are all now as dead ; nor can be awakened to remi- 
niscence without a resolution of the whole circulatory 
confine, when it arises identically reverse, perfect, and 
alone. This is the Sal Sapientum et Mercurius Phi- n 
losophorum ; their Secretum Secretorum pt Pons A&U ^j 
iiorum ) — Scire etiam tibi convenit, O bone rex, quod 
hoc magisterium nihil aliud est, nisi arcanum et se- 
cretum secretorum Dei altissimi et magni ; Ipse enim 
hoc secretum prophetis commendavit : quorum scilicet 
animas suo paradiso coUocavit.^ 

We learn, finally, that the souls of the Initiated, 
being made perfect in every telestic accomplishment 
and virtue, and having passed orderly through the 
whole progression of Intelligible Causes, by the Greeks 
called gods, were next promoted to a contemplation 
of their Highest Unity. For having vanquished every 
irrational and gravitating inclination, the soul, holding 
the circle of reason complete, as it were, and para- 
mount over all, and possessing all, except her own 
identic essence, desires this now alone and above 
every other good, her final Cause and consummation 
in the Absolute so long deprived. 

I will open a secret to the Initiated, but let the 
dno)\'< he shut. And thou, O Musseus, ojfspjing of the 
b?'ight Silene, attend carefully to my song ; for I 
deliver the truth without disguise : suffer not there- 
fore former prejudice to debar thee from that lumpy 
life which this k?ioivIedge will procure unto thee. But 
studiously contemplate the divine oracle, and perse- 

1 Sendivogius, New Light of Alchemy, Element of Fii-e, p. 99, 

2 Morieni de Ti'ans. ]\Iotal. Ars Aiirifera, vol. ii. p, 27. 


242 More Esoteric View. 

vere in purity of mind and heart. Go on in the right 
way, and contemplate the sole Governor of the 
World. He is One and of Himself alone, and to that 
One all things owe their Being. He operates through 
all, was never seen by mortal eyes, but does Himself 
see every one.^ 

This contemplation, then, of the indwelling Unity 
cX-iA-t^ was the final preparative to translation ; fe«t" it has 
been supposed, from the concluding passage, that He 
was never seen by moi^tal eyes, and others of like im- 
port, that the Initiated, therefore, did not behold Him. 
But it should be remembered, that the initiated were 
nowhere considered as mortal men, in respect of their 
souls, which were regenerate, and so fortified by assi- 
milation and proximity, that, whether in union or 
separation, their regard was not extraneous but hy- 
postatical, as of like to like. No mortal can see God 
or come to him naturally ; for if that light which is in 
the circumference be so intense that nothing corporeal 
can sustain it, and previous unions, which were but 
partial and instantaneous, as it were, tried the ethereal 
vehicle to its utmost susceptibility, how much less, 
therefore, can the compound creature, approaching to 
the Fiery Centre, live? Neither is it said to be 
lawful for the pure to be touched by the impure, and 
the uninitiated are for this reason totally debarred, as 
it were, by a threefold barrier of sense, ignorance, and 
disincHnation, from the discovery of truth. But neither 
let it be imagined, do the Initiated self-actively com- 
prehend the life of Deity ; for that would be indeed 
an inversion and a submerging of the Creator in the 
creature ; but Plato beautifully unfolds the passive 
method of the Divine Intuition, and the three ele- 
vating causes of love, hope, and faith, to those who 
do not negligently read what he has written. For 
what else than love conjoins the soul to beauty ? and 
where else is truth to be hoped^asks the philosopher, 
except in this place ? And what else than faith is the 
cause of this ineffable niuesis? For iiuiesis, in short, 

' See the Ori)hie Fragment in A\'arburton, vol. i. 

The Mysteries. 243 

is neither through intelligence nor judgment, but 
through the unical silence imparted by faith, which 
is then better than every gnostic energy (when it sur- 
passes this), and which establishes both whole and 
individual souls in the ineffable Unknown.^ But, 
lest we prolong the transcendental theme ; that which 
is most externally remarkable in the theurgic man- 
dates for this translation is, that the whole body 
should be buried, except the head ; sublimely signify- 
ing that the total life, with exception of that which is 
intellectual, should be buried in profound oblivion ; 
alone elevating, in Platonic phrase, the head of the 
charioteer to the place beyond the heaven, where he 
is filled with the Demiurgic Wisdom and an empy- 
real life. 

And it is necessary, says Proclus, that the soul 
thus becoming an Intellectual World, and being as 
much as possible assimilated to the whole inteUigible 
universe, should introduce herself to the Maker of the 
Universe, and, from this introduction, should, in a 
certain respect, become familiar with him, through a 
certain intellectual energy. For uninterrupted energy 
about anything calls forth and resuscitates our dor- 
mant Ideas. But through this familiarity, becoming- 
stationed at the door of the Father, it is necessary 
that we should become united to Him. For discovery 
is this, — to meet with Him, to be united to Him, and 
to see Him Himself — the Alone with the Alone ; the 
soul hastily withdrawing herself from every other 
energy to Him ; for then, being present with her 
father, she considers scientific discussions to be but 
words, banquets together with Him on the Truth 
of Real Being, and in pure splendour is purely 
initiated in entire and stable vision. Such, therefore, 
is the Discovery of the Father ; not that which is dox- 
astic, or pertaining to opinion ; for that is dubious 
and not very remote from the irrational life ; neither 
is it scientific; for this is syllogistic and composite, 
and does not come into contact with the intellectual 

^ Proclus, on tlie Theology, book iv. chap. ix. 
R 2* 

244 More Esoteric View. 

essence of the Intellectual Demiurgus. But it is that 
which subsists according to Intellectual Vision Itself: 
a contact with the Intelligible, and a union with the 
Demiurgic Intellect. And this may properly be de- 
nominated difficult, as Plato alludes, either as how to 
obtain, presenting itself to souls, after every evolution 
of life, or as to the true labour of souls. For after 
wandering about generation, after the purification and 
the light of science ; intellectual energy alone, by the 
intellect that is in us, shines forth ; locating the soul 
in the Father, as in a port, purely establishing her in 
fabricative intellections, and conjoining Light with 
Light. — Not such as was with science, or that vision 
that was in Elysium, but more beautiful, more intel- 
lectual, and partaking more of the nature of the One 
than this. This, then, is the Paternal Port and the 
discovery of the Father, according to Proclus, viz., 
an undefiled union with him.^ 

And with what magnificence of thought and diction 
does the Platonic Successor recal the Initiated Reason 
to the contemplation of . her end, as ablating every- 
o/ru^ (IaMlaa^ thing else in gradual approach/ . jj ? ai li ng together the 
^ whole voluntary accord, he exhorts us now, if 
ever, to remove from ourselves multiform knowledge, 
exterminate all the variety of life, and in perfect quiet 
approach near to the Cause of all. Let not only 
Ci'^yid opinion and phantasy be at rest, »©¥- the passions 
alone, which imi)ede our anagogic impulse to the 
First, be at peace ; but let the air and the universe 
be still (within us), and let all things extend in us 
with a tranquil power, to commune with the In- 
effable. Let us also, standing there, having tran- 
scended the Intelligible, and with nearly closed eyes, 
adoring, as it were, the rising sun(^ since it is not 
lawful for any being whatever iiiteiitly to behold Him) 
let us survey that Sun whence the hitelUgible gods 
proceed, emerging, as the Poets say, fi'om the bosom 
of the ocean ; and again from this divine tran- 
quillity descending into Intellect, and from Intel- 

^ On tliP Timajus of Plato, vol. i. Taylor, p. 254. 

The Mysteries. 245 

lect, employing the reasonings of the soul, let us 
relate to ourselves what the natures are fi-oni which, 
in this progression, we shall consider the First God 
exempt. Let us, as it were, celebrate Him, not as 
establishing the earth and heavens, nor giving sub- 
sistence to souls and the generations of mortals ; for 
these things He produces indeed, but amongst the last 
of things. Prior, rather, let us celebrate Him as un- 
folding in Light the whole Intelligible Universe and 
intellectual genus of gods, together with all the super- 
mundane and mundane divinities ; as the God of all 
gods, the Unity of all unities, and beyond the First 
Adyta ; as more ineffable than all silence, and more 
Unknown than all recondite essence, as Holy amongst ./f 

the holies, and concealed FHfHWgsl the Intelligible gods. UriZAAyr^ 

Such was the theology of the wise Ethnics, such 
their piety, and with such an energetic expansion of 
their whole unfettered will and understanding, did 
they seek to prove Reality in the Great Unknown 
— unknown, because concealed in this life — uncon- 
scious, even whilst yet in Elysium, the soul looked 
out through all her imaged light. But returning 
from thence into herself with all her beams concen- 
tered, addressing the Great Archetype, He becomes 
known ; yet not as in the individuated consciousness, 
things are said to be known apart ; nor as before, 
either in separation of subject and object ; but abso- 
lutely, in Identity ; as passing from herself the soul 
no longer sees or distinguishes by intellection nor 
imagines that there are two things, but, consubstan- 
tial, becomes herself the ultimate object as she was cA 
before the subject in simultaneous accord. And thus 
the Divine Oracle ratifies the Platonic instruction 
to inquire. 

There is sometliing Intelligible which it behoves thee to under- 
stand with the Flower of thy mind. 

Tor if thou inclinest thy mind thou shalt understand this also, 

Yet understanding, thou shalt not comprehend this wholly: 

Tor it is a Power of circumlucid strength glittering with vehe- 
mence of iutellection. 

246 More Esoteric View. 

But with the ample flame of tlie ample mind which measiu-eth all 

Except this Intelligible: 

But it behoves tliee to understand this also ; not fixedly, but hav- 
ing a pure tui'uiug eye, 

Extend tlie empty mind of thy soul towards the Intelligible, 

That thou mayest learn the Intelligible, for it exists beyond the 

Such is the condition and metaphysical ahenation 
which ancient experience subHinely proved, as passing 
to deification ; which the natural reason echoes, but by 
a necessity of faith only, since it cannot pass into the 
superstantial proof. Theoretic contemplation, sen- 
sible abstraction, continuity of active thought, all are 
alike inadequate ; Without the Pontic Medium, with- 
out Theurgic assistance we are unable to transcend the 
consciousness of this life, and so are prevented from 
carrying metaphysics or of proving existence on the 
ontological ground. But this desiring faith of reason 
by which she has persisted and still persists, occa- 
sionally to inquire and infer, respecting causes which 
are both beyond and behind her natural grasp, has, we 
think, been aptly compared to the perception which 
the eye has of light and colours ; for as sight, observing 
believes, yet can affirm nothing absolutely about the 
reason or essences of colours ; in like manner reason, 
reflecting abstractedly, perceives a necessity of subsist- 
ence within itself, yet, unable to know, can affirm 
nothing with respect to it. For affirmation implies a 
doubled testimony in subject and object, or as a 
logician might say, affirmation arises out of that which 
is composite from a subject and a predicate. If there- 
fore Intellect should by any means be enabled to come 
into visivc contact with its vision, as if begetting an 
experience, it would then assert ; and the assertion, as 
respects itself, would be true ; and the disbelief of 
others who had not proved the same, would be to it 
as if some one having slept away his life dreaming in 
this world, should on awakening to outward sense, 
persist in those dreams with which he had been so 
long conversant, denying the reality of the api)caring 

The Mysteries. 247 

world ; and as his infatuation would be obvious, and 
his denial disregarded by mankind, so is the blindness 
of the sensible life described as obvious and lament- 
able by those who have passed into a more profound 
and convictive experience. 

But not reason, nor enthusiasm, nor ardent desire, 
nor an intellectual conception, nor abstraction, as we 
are taught, conjoins theurgists with the One ; but 
these are preparatory steps only to the self-oblivious 
amplitude of conception which precedes Him moving 
in the ultimate recessure of life. 

He comes, says Plotinus, suddenly alone, bringing 
with him his own empyreal universe and total deity, 
in one. And all things in that ultimate circulation are 
diaphanous, nothing dark or resisting, as of subject 
and object remaining in the mind ; but everything is 
apparent to every faculty intrinsically throughout. For 
light everywhere meets light, as thought its under- 
standing in the all, continental all, resident in each 
particular, perfect with all ; and the splendor there is 
infinite, for everything there is great, even that which 
is small, for it has the great. The sun which is there 
is all the stars, and again each star is the sun, and all 
the stars, as ideas are in the mind everywhere, and the 
same mind in all ; only in each a different quality is 
dominant, yet all are comprehensible in each, and 
transmutable one into another, as thoughts arise and 
are displaced without disorder or opposive persistence. 
Motion likewise there is jjerfectly harmonious, for the 
motion is not confounded, as in the world it is, by a 
mover different from itself ; but the seat of each thing 
is that which the thing itself is, and concurs and proves 
itself to be what it is by its own self-evidence, pro- 
ceeding constantly towards that whence it originated. 
Thus, that which thinks and understands, and the 
thing understood are one, coeternal and coequal, and 
their substance is intellect, and Intellect according to 
these philosophers is the subsistence of all. 

But in the sensible world the circulation of things is 
altogether different ; for though this has been proved 
also to be an outbirth from the same universal centre, 

248 Moke Esoteuic View. 

yet the c(iuilibriuoi of being is broken everywhere at 
t he eircunifercnec for manifestation ; one thing does not 
subsist by another, but each part or individual remains 
alone in contrariety of conscience ; nor does the devious 
wheel of life obey her axle any more, until returning 
into it, she perceives her error and the transgression 
that was made in self-will, for the sake of this expe- 
rience, from the great Law of Light, from plenitude of 
Power, from immortal Harmony, and that high Exem- 
plar which is before all things, and the Final Cause of 
all ; which seeing only is seen, and understanding is 
understood by him, who having a sight like that of 
Lynccus, penetrating all centres, discovers himself in 
That finally wiiich is the source of all ; and passing 
from himself to That, transcending, attains the end of 
his progression. 

Ille dei'im vitam accipiet, divisque videbit 
Permixtos heroas, et ipse videbitur illis. 

And this was the consummation of the Mysteries, 
the ground of the Hernietic philosophy, prolific in 
supernatural increase, transmutations and magical 
effects. And thus it is said to be lawful for the Vital 
Spirit to descend and ascend in successive circulations 
until she terminates her flight in the Principle of things. 
And this w^as the life of the gods and of divine happy 
men, who rising in voluntary abnegation above the 
evil and sensual habitude of this life and many suffer- 
ings to which body is allied, obtained, together wdth a 
liberation fi*om these, a foretaste simple, beatific, and 
secure, of the life which is eternal ; when, by exciting 
the divine virtue within, they became simultaneously 
elevated, and proceeding through Intellect to Wisdom, 
they arrived at the First Principle ; and again de- 
scending thence, increasing in divine virtue by each 
ascent, until the total life was irradiated from the 
ample recess of light. 

Tunc ire ad mundum archetypum S53epe atque redirc 
y^jZ-y^vL^ry-^ Patreiiijp*ffaj»ii«ia spectare licebit — 

Cujus tunc Co-operator effectus potest Omnia. 

The Mysteries. 249 

But there are many degrees of Divine illumination ; 
nor were the rites of Eleusis found to be equally effi- 
cacious for all ; since all souls are not of equal capacity 
or bias towards intellectual education : but as philoso- 
phers agree that preceding initiations are preparatory 
to those in a subsequent order, so the possession of the 
best habits of thought in this life, and natural incli- 
nation, render the Spirit better adapted to sublime. 
Plato, accordingly, cites the records of the Mysteries, 
to witness that there are many more Thyrsus bearers 
than Bacchic souls ; which is to say, that many had 
the tire indeed, and were able even to perceive it, who 
were without the power to discover and draw it forth to 
manifestation. For, in the Thyrsus, Prometheus is fa- 
bled to have concealed the fire he stole from heaven ; 
but Bacchus, persisting through the whole course of 
life allotted, returned, as the Orphic verse denotes 
him, triumphant, and appearing in splendour to 

Bacclius, ipse totus igneus et fulgidus appareret, qui nudis oculis 
tolerari non posset. 

So Osiris appeared in shining garments, as Apollo, 
all over radiant ; so Socrates^ his mighty genius once (^'^'^ 
freed, in ecstacy shone forth, as it is related, to the 
beholders, more dazzling than the luciferous wheel of 
the meridian sun, diffusing itself from the freed centre 
outwardly until it moved the dark circumference of 
sense itself.^ 

So great Alcides, mortal mould resigned. 
His better part enlarged and all refined ; 
August his visage shone ; Almighty Jove 
In his swift car his honoured oflspring drove. 

So Orpheus, and/^divine Achilles shone refulgent 
in his armour ; and Jason, on his return from Colchis, 
with the Golden Fleece. 

1 Agrippa Occult Phil, book iii. where are given several notable 
examples in this kind ; and Apuleius on the Demon of Socrates. 

250 More Esoteric View. 

But, say the expounders, all this splendid delirium 
and transfiguration in the Mysteries was the effect of 
narcotic liquors, which were administered to the Mystce 
before the shows commenced, causing a confusion 
of their intellects, and the strange and miraculous a])- 
pearance of the objects exhibited to them. But this 
is all a mistake ; arising naturally enough out of the 
tendency of common sense, Procrustes like, to accom- 
modate all things to the limitation of its own sphere, 
which comprehends but a small part, however, of the 
things which are. The light exhibited in the Eleusinian 
mysteries, i. e., in the true initiations, as is plainly to 
be gathered from the sense of the ancients, was the 
Light of Life which these could kindle and fortify, and 
the total drama was Di\dne. Let ignorance disbelieve, 
and impiety reprobate, as long as they are able ; those 
Theurgic associations were neither futile nor unholy ; 
nor were the visions or gods attending on those 
Mysteries dead images, nor mere symbols, nor impo- 
tent, nor idle, nor invisible, though unseen. For are 
we not taught by the highest philosophic authorities 
to believe that by Theurgic rites, an ascent was made 
through appropriate media and a gradual assimilation, 
which without these could not be effected, to the 
l\nowlc(lge of the First Cause ; and that not theoretic 
only, but actual in co-efficiency of being and universal 

And here, if any agree with us, he will readily 
appreciate that mandate of the Mysteries which 
forbids that divine things should be divulged to the 
uninitiated. For beyond the early danger to unpuri- 
fied souls, there remains this objection, that such 
things cannot be understood by the multitude, nor 
rightly by any but by those only who were fortunately 
enabled to perceive them. But it is not possible, fol- 
lowing their descriptions, the sublimely articulate rela- 
tions of the Greek and Alexandrian Platonists, or those 
no less profound and earnest Mystics of the middle 
ages, concerning the divine hypostasis and last con- 
junction of the contemplative soul and its immortal 

The Mysteries. 251 

experience, to maintain an indifferent spirit, or with- 
out being in a degree moved to a responsive sense of 
their reaUty. And he who, being endowed with a 
percipient mind and Hberal, will take pains to examine 
those w^ritings, or even those of the reputed enemies 
of their faith — the enlightened Fathers of the Christian 
Church — may be persuaded by very much evidence, too 
much to intrude in this place, that the Eleusinian 
rites alluded to, and the objects attained, were of 
a nature widely differing from those which have been 
generally reported. And if, as must be indeed ad- 
mitted, they became latterly disgraced in impure 
hands, yet this ought not by any means to detract 
from our esteem of the original institution, to which 
those latter orgies were diametrically opposed. That 
the Mysteries were instituted pure there is no doubt, 
since it is universally allowed ; early Christians con- 
curring with the wisest Ethnics in declaring that they 
proposed the noblest ends, and by the worthiest means 
attained them ; where not only every thing within was 
conducted with decorum, but utmost care was taken 
to secure the same for those passing without the Fane, 
where misbehaviour, even of the eye, was accounted 
criminal, and indiscretion was punished, and profana- 
tion by death. That all was a mere machination and 
priestly lure, or the visions of men of obscured intel- 
lects, is an assumption arising out of the double igno- 
rance of modern times ; all those immortal fables 
and glowing descriptions of poets, philosophers, saints, 
and historians belie the folly, and reflect it on those 
who, from regarding the fluctuating objects of sense 
only, with a trifling imagination, have obscured the 
high reality and light of better days. 

But it is then, as Epictetus says, that the idea 
of the Mysteries becomes truly venerable, when, 
believing the ancients, we begin to understand their 
assertion, that all things therein were provided by 
them for the improvement and perfection of human 

Thus far we have endeavoured to sketch through 

252 More Esoteric View. 

the order of the Mysteries to their consummation ; 
for the sake of affording a gi-ound to the pursuit 
of our inquiry, to indicate the connection of the Sa- 
cred Art and Alchemy, and inasmuch as modern 
revelation would permit, the nature of that Aii; and 
proper Subject of this philosophy. In the progress 
of this Vital Experiment, it may not be difficult to 
imagine that powers would be disclosed and particular 
secrets of nature in the substance of her Whole. 
These intermediate fi'uits and fragments, having 
been exhibited at intervals to the world, without a dis- 
covery of their source, have given rise to much asto- 
nishment and misapprehension, and those futile re- 
searches of common chemistry after the elixir and gold. 
Both of which are vital products, as we shall i)rocecd 
to elucidate with the method and metaphysical origin 
of the Philosopher's Stone. 







Of the Experimental Method and Fermentation of the 
Philosophic Subject, according to the Paracelsian 
Alchemists and sovie others. 

Naturam in primis imitabere in arte magister. 
Ilanc massam exterior taiitum calor excitat ignis ; 
JEthereo interior seel perficit omnia fotu. 

Tractatus Aureus — Scholium, cap. i. 

IT is not less a tendency of the Greek philosophy 
to substantialize life, than to free the conscious 
being from corporeal dependency ; in considering mind 
apart from its material organs, they by no means make 
it appear therefore as an abstract conception, or in- 
ferential only, as with modern metaphysics is the case; 
but as an absolute substratal matter also of existence. 

On just such a foundation do the Alchemists esta- 
blish their Free Masonry ; claiming like extreme attri- 
butes and miraculous origin for their first matter, as 
do the Greeks, for that ethereal hypostasis we were 
before discussing. A few also profess, with the same 
admirable earnestness, to have observed in the experi- 
mental development of their whole internal being, the /Ttomy 
whole procedure of the occult nature into evidence, 
with her universal efficient by the Light of Wisdom 
thenceforth revealed. 

In ignorance of the means by which such a spec- 
tacle was obtained, they may continue unaccredited, 
for their assertion is at variance with the judgment of 
common sense, neither does it belong to the natural 
order of mental experience ; nevertheless, since the 
whole of the Hermetic philosophy, and every tradition 
of occult science, depend immediately therefrom, for 
our undertaking's sake, it will be requisite to consider 

256 Laws and Conditions. 

this, their Initial Principle, more particularly, and how 
possibly it became known in its first arcane descent 
and emanation. 

We have already endeavom-ed to prepare a way 
in part, showing the imperfection of the natural Spiiit 
in this world, the occultation of its Light, and the 
vital alteration that was deemed necessary and ope- 
rated in the Mysteries upon those who were desirous 
of wisdom and immortality in the awakening con- 
science of a divine life within. Let us examine yet 
further into the Method of this Vital Experiment, that, 
before proceeding to unfold the Art in actual i)ractice, 
we may understand the Principles ; and be enabled, 
from out the many clouds of sophistry in which it is 
enveloped, to distinguish that Light and virtue of true 
Chemistry, by which the ancients were assisted : — that 
deformed and limping CEdipus, for example ; so that 
he was able to vanquish the Metaphysical Monster, 
and enter in with her to the Temple of Truth. 

And here, preliminarily, we may remark with how 
much propriety the Egyptians placed the Sphinx in 
the vestibule of Isis, who is the same with Minerva 
and that Wisdom we are investigating ; for what the 
natural intelligent Spirit is in man, that Ether is 
in the universe ; and this intelligence, phantastic as it 
is and drawn without, may be called the vestibule of 
Reason, which is, as it were, the temple of that Intel- 
lectual Illumination which proceeds, when the con- 
ditions are duly offered, from the Divinity within. In 
our vestibule, therefore, the Phantastic Spirit, which is 
the natural vehicle of our hfe, is situated ; and in 
a similar manner the commonly diffused Ether is as a 
vestibule or vehicle in respect of the universal soul of 
the world, which is occultly suspended in Nature, and 
may be called her temple ; as an outward shadow, 
guarding the Light within of both worlds, so is that 
Ether then the Sphinx of the Universe. 

And she is all things passively which the internal 
light is impassively. By her animal form, combined 
with the human face and summit, is indicated the two- 

Experimental Method. 257 

fold capability and diffusion of such a life ; for she is 
the summit of the irrational mind relying on instinct, 
and the basis whereon to build the rational and trans- 
cend opinion in indivisible science. Her wings are 
images of the elevating power which the imagination 
possesses, by which likewise she is rendered capable 
of divine assimilation and of returning within and 
upward to a region of vivid intellection everywhere 
resplendent with light.' 

Such was the Door-keeper of the Egyptain Mys- 
teries ; agreeably also do we find the art of Alchemy 
directed upon the same enigmatical source. 

A nature to search out which is invisible, 
Material of our Maistry a substance insensible. 

This Material, whilst yet immanifest, they worked, 
and worked with by itself alone ; joining self to self, as 
the advice runs — vita vitam concipit, natura naturam 
vincit ac superat, patefacit, gignit et renovat ; item 
natura natura leetatur et emendetur ;^ as men also 
now prove, mesmerising one another, but without the 
important knowledge how to alter and amend the Thing. 
This Mesmerism, in respect of our Mystery then, may 
be regarded as a first key which, opening into the ves- 
tibule, affords a view within the sense's prison, but of 
the labyrinth of life only. Facts vary at the circum- 
ference, and appear often so contradictory that reason 
is at a loss, even if otherwise admitted capable, for stable 
materials whereon to base judgment ; and each suc- 
ceeding theory yields to some unforeseen diversity of 
the Spirit's manifestation. If the ancients had known 
the inner life only as it is now known, if they had mis- 
taken dreams for revelations, instinct for intellectual 
vision, and insensibility for the highest good, and so 
left Nature to dream on and take her rest without 
exerting a thought to probe or prosper her ability, 

1 See Taylor's Notes to his Pausanias ; an admirable extract from 
Lasus Hermonseus concerning the Sphinx, vol. iii. 

2 Arnold! Rosarium, Democritus et alii in Turba Philosophorum ; 
De Lapidis Physici Condit. cap. iii. 


258 Laws and Conditions. 

then they would have been just such inconsiderable 
heathens as the world has taken them for ; the Sphinx 
had never owned her mastery or yielded to theirs her 
w^ary wit ; then they would have been, as we, servants, 
not masters ; plodding interpreters of effects, without 
power or prescience. But it was all otherwise, as 
will one day be perceived ; their philosophy as far 
exceeded ours in substance and objective certainty, as 
it does avowedly in scope, beauty and intellectual 

It may be considered that the discovery of Vital 
Magnetism is young, and has had no time to grow up 
into a science ; that it is the business of a philosopher 
to observe and gather facts from without patiently and 
compare experiences ; and we do not object but admit 
that it is a way ; but whether it is the best way, or 
surest, to find the truth eventually we doubt : a long 
way we all know it to be — laborious and not very 
cheering, if we regard the point to which it has hither- 
to attained in the most intelligent and experienced 
hands. Or how should the)" attempt to theorise 
about a revelation that is above their own ? as well 
might we presume to estimate the worth of a treasure 
that is unseen, as to judge of spiritual causes from re- 
mote effects. Is not experience the basis of true 
knowledge, and rational experiment the proper road to 
attain it ? How then can we hope for an understand- 
ing of spiritual causes without entering in upon the 
proper ground of their experience ? Verily, says the 
adept, as long as men continue to lick the shell after 
their fashion, presuming to judge of hidden celestial 
things which are shut up in the closet of the matter, 
and all the while perusing the outside, they can do no 
otherwise than they have done; they cannot know 
things substantially, but only describe them by their 
outward effects and motions, which are subject and ob- 
vious to every common eye.* 

But be the modern method of experimenting as it 

^ Yaughan's Auima Magia Abscondita, p. 8. 

Experimental Method. 259 

may, right or wrong, according to opinion, the ancients 
did not choose it ; but adopted a different one in their 
philosophy ; which we, observing the imperfect fruits 
of the inductive sciences generally, and that facts ac- 
cumulated about them for ages, have failed in every in- 
stance to yield the satisfaction which reason requires, 
are more particularly desirous to examine at the pre- 
sent time, if peradventure philosophy might hope 
with advantage to return with her instruments to work 
as formerly on the (I priori ground. It has lain a long 
while uncultivated, and indigenous weeds and briers 
have sprung up over, so that it is difficult, on first 
view, to believe that it ever yielded foreign fruits ; but 
patience, and the possibility granted, we will endea- 
vour to clear a path, by the help of evidences that yet 
remain, many and curious, about the riches of Wisdom 
and those living waters that abound in Paradise, 
compassing about too that land of Havilah where good 
gold is ;^ the Tree of Life also, and Knowledge, and 
other precious things wonderfully adumbrated about 
the penetralia of True Being. — Surely there is a vein for 
the silver, says Job, and a place for gold where they 

Jine it. Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is 
molten out of the stone. As for the earth, out of it 
Cometh bread : and ander it is turned up as it were 

Jire. And the stones of it are the place of sapphires : 
and it hath dust of gold. There is a path which no 

fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not 
seen : the lions whelps have not trodden it, nor the 
fierce lion passed by. He putteth forth his hand upon 
the roek ; he overturneth the mountauis by the roots. 
He cutteth out rivers among the rocks ; and his ei/e 
seeth every precious thing. He bindeth the flood 
from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth 
he forth to light. But where shall wisdom be found? 
and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth 
not the price thereof; neither is it to be found in the 
latul of the living. Whence then cometh Wisdom ? and 

^ Genesis, chap. ii. ver. 10, and following. 

s 2 

260 Laws and Conditions. 

where is the place of understanding ? Seeing it is hid 
from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the 
fowls of the air. God understandeth the way thereof. 
For he looketh to the ends of earth, and seeth under 
the whole heaven ; to make the weight for the winds ; 
and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he 
made a decree for the rain and a way for the light- 
ning and thunder: then did he see it, and declare it; 
he prepared it, and searched it out. And unto man he 
said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is Wisdom ; 
and to depart from evil is Understanding} 

Let us, then, investigate a means for the discovery of 
Wisdom, as the ancients declare to be right and pro- 
fitable, and believe that he spoke well and summarily 
who said, that " the first step in philosophy is to set 
the mind a-going."' 

As we are informed that the conduct of the Mys- 
teries was uniform and entirely scientific ; so likewise 
philosophers insist that, in the Hermetic art, theory 
ought to precede practice ; and that, before the Spirit 
can be expected to yield any rational or pure effects, 
she must be made to conceive them : the right way and 
object of investigation being well understood. — Dwell 
not altogether in the practice, says the adept, for that 
is not the way to improve it : be sure to add reason to 
thy experience, and to employ thy mind as well as thy 
hands. "^ So wrote Vaughan in 1 650 ; and, to the same 
effect, artists of every age : and, in the sequel of this 
inquiry, we may understand Why ; and why we have 
no such miracles as those which are related of the 
saints and apostles in former times who received the 
gift of healing from their Lord. Is it not obvious to 
common sense, that he that would heal others, or hope 
to impart any superior efficacy, should first of all heal 
or be healed himself? Take first the beam from out 
thine own eye, and then thou mayest see clearly to 
take out the moat that is in thy brother's eye : and 
again, is it not written, — Physician heal thyself; Prepare 

^ Job, cliap. xxviii. 

' Yaughan's Luinon de Luiiiino, p. 18. 

Experimental Method. 261 

thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the 
field ; and afterwards build thy house. ^ If, then, w^e go 
out at once to throw our common life to common 
lives, w^hat wonder we have only common results ? 
That much depends upon the quality of the life im- 
parted, general observation teaches ; and with what 
sure corresponding consequences the moral leaven is 
attended may be understood, in a degree, by the 
recipient in the mesmeric trance. But the spon- 
taneous fermentation which the Vital Spirit undergoes, 
and the change which is thereby effected in the Passive 
Subject, is not taken advantage of in modern practice, 
or pushed to the uttermost ; much less is understood, 
that exact art of grafting and transplanting which 
the ancients practised, and by means of which a 
growth and sublimation of the Spirit was effected, 
even to a third, fourth, and fifth degree of concen- 
trated essentiality in as many representative vessels or 

The true medicine, according to the Paracelsians, is 
bound in man, shut up as it may be milk, within the 
hard and solid nut : and as fire which lies hidden in 
fuel, unless it be ignited, is good for nothing, so our 
fire of life (called Antimony by adepts) can effect no- 
thing comparatively excellent whilst it is immured. 
When however, by a due purgation, the pure life is 
separated, as metal from the dark and sordid ore, it 
will flow forth, as is declared, " a pure panacea from 
the god of Light ;" 

AJVhose fragrant locks distil ambrosial dews, 
Drop gladness down and blooming health diffuse ; 
Where'er the genial planacea fall^, ""■ ^^-.^ 

Health crowns the state, and safe^y^uards'the walla.^ 

As all things are proved by fire, so also, are we told, 
the trial of the knowledge of physic is to be made by 
fire ; physic and pyrotechny, says Crollius, cannot be 
separated ; for the natural inbred chemist teaches to 

' Wisdom of Solomon, and in Proverbs, chap. xxiv. 
2 Callimachus's Hymn to Apollo, by Dodd. 

262 Laws and Conditions. 

segregate every mystery into its own reservacle, and 
to free the medicine from those scurvy envelopes 
wherein naturally it is wrapped, by a due separation 
from the impurities and filthy mixtures of superficial 
external elements ; that the pure crystaUine matter 
may be administered to our bodies ; and therefore a 
physician should be born of the light of grace and 
spirit of the invisible divinity.' Wherewith a man 
no longer asks, What is it? How can this be? or, 
Whence come such salutary effects ? For it feels itself 
move in conscious virtue from its own source, being 
allied, as an efflux of that living light which can move 
mountains to its faith. 

To find this Light, and to free it from captivity, was 
the practice of physicians in the middle periods, for 
curing bodily ills, and administering to the defects 
of age. But the Theurgic Art professed a power of pu- 
rifying and informing the Mind much more beneficial 
and lasting than this pertaining to the mortal body, 
and far advanced beyond that object ; approaching 
tpiXTtiAjL more nearly, as it would seem, 1^ a fulfilment of the 
perfect doctrine of regeneration preached by Jesus 
Christ and his apostles, than any other known ; for, by 
an eflTectual baptismal purification, they also prepared 
the way, and by a gradual subjugation of the passions 
and adaptation of the subordinate powers to reason, 
the wdiole hypostasis was converted finally through 
faith into the identity of substant light within. 

And it appears that, in order to discover this Reason, 
men had in former times the faith to put the question 
to Nature rationally : not rudely indeed, or, as is with 
modern chemistry the fashion, to demohsh her edifices 
and burn her out of life and home; but they knocked, 
as was bid them, and the doors being opened from 
within, they enjoyed and took advantage of their en- 
trance as lawful guests : and, when all was ready, and 
they were admitted to the inner chamber, we observe 

' See Crullhis' Pbilosopliy, The True PliVfic, chap. i. Also B. 
Valeutiue's (."liariot dt" Aittimony. )). 42. <tc. 

^ J 

Experimental Method, 263 

them still, not so much engaged in noting phenomena, 
or looking about for facts to furnish private judgment ; 
but more becomingly inquisitive, addressing them- 
selves to Nature, and admiring there where they found 
her happily exalted above them, sphered in the magian 
circle of her own light : not stupidly gazing either, but 
speculative, how they might approach nearer and be- 
come worthy of the knowledge and famiHarity of that 
light. For they w^ere not content with first phe- 
nomena, nor did Theurgists disturb the divine intellect 
about trifling concerns ; but they consulted it about 
things which pertain to purification, liberation, as 
Jamblicus tells us, and the salvation of life. Neither 
did they studiously employ themselves in questions 
which are indeed difficult, yet useless, to mankind ; but, 
on the contrary, they directed their attention to things 
which are beneficial to life, and such as tend towards 
the discovery of truth. ^ 

No man enters the magian' s school, it seems, but 
he wanders awhile in the region of chimeras ; and the 
inquiries which he makes before attaining to experi- 
mental knowledge are many, and often erroneous. ^ 
But investigation, once begun in a right rectifying 
spirit, enters,- & the adepts^ who having set the chain 
of vital causes in action, succeeded in tracing them to 
their last efficient link in ^cleity ; whence surveying, 
they were enabled, under the divine will, to work such 
perfection in things below as are supernatural to this 
life, and greater than the natural intellect is able to 
conceive. For the Central Light and Wisdom was all 
their aim, and the way to it was all the revelation they 
valued or asked for, until the hidden Divinity was 
moved into experience and made manifest in effect and 

But what say our GEdipus distillers of this Ether, 
the instructive'^ Alchemists? Lay the line to thy 
thoughts and examine all patiently, and infer from 

_/ 1 See Jamblicus de Mysteriis, sect. vii. cap. viii. 

2 See Vaughau's I.umen de Lumine, p. 40, &c. B. Valentine's 
Chariot sub initio, Norton's Ordinal, c. iv. &c. 


264 Laws and Conditions. 

experience, and thou art in the way to become in- 
fallible. Take hold of that Rule which God hatli 
given thee for thy direction, by which thou mayest 
discern the right from the wrong. Seek not for that 
in nature which is an effect beyond her strength ; you 
must help her, that she may exceed her common 
course, or all is to no ])urpose ; for the Mercury of 
the Wise comes not but by help of ingenuity and in- 
dustry.^ But he that devoteth himself to philosophy, 
says Crollius, and shall sincerely and as he ought 
come to the inner rooms of nature by a holy assiduity 
of preparations, joining thereto diligent contemplation 
of natural causes, and withal shall refuse no pains or 
difficulties to get experience by the industry of his 
handy work, he shall, if the grace of the most High 
be infused into him, bring forth far greater things out 
of this open bosom of nature than they seem to pro- 
mise at first sight.^ To the same effect Van Helmont 
writes, that the attainment of the Tree of Life is la- 
borious, and the fruit of intellectual research.^ Excel- 
lent, also, is this advice of Basil Valentine, and 
instructive to the point : Learn and look for the first 
foundation, says the monk, which nature holds con- 
cealed ; search for it even with thine own eyes and 
hand, in order that thou mayest be able to philoso- 
phise with judgment and build upon the impregnable 
rock ; but, without this discovery, thou wilt continue a 
vain and phantastic trifler, whose discoursings, without 
e.iperieiue, are built upon sand. Let not any one 
imagine either that we can be satisfied with mere 
words, who rather exact documents proved by ex- 
perience, in which we are bounden to have faith.'* 

1 Lumen de Luminc, page 39. Liillii Theoria et Practica, cap. 
Ixviii et Ixxxviii. 

' See the Admonitory Preface of Osw aid Crollius, page x. 

3 Oreatrike, p. 631, 710, kc. 4to. 

^ Disce igitur, disputator mi, et inquire primum fundamentum 
ipsis oculis et manu, quod natura secutn fert absconditum : sic 
demi^m prudenter, et cum judicio inexpugnabilem Petram jedifi- 
care poteris. Sine hoc autem vanus et phantasticus nugator 
manebis, ciijus sermones absque ilia Expericntia supra arenam 

Experimental Method. 265 

Such are a few of the preliminary lessons of adepts, 
in which they all agree that the way to AVisdom is by 
patience and rational inquiry. Some scattered spe- 
cimens of the kind we have remarked in the writings / . 
of LuUy, and Michael Mayer and others, to which in ' i-, 
the Practice we shall have occasion to allude. That 
they did not investigate trifling matters is indeed 
obvious, but diligently, fi'om the first, concerning the 
intimate causes of things ; and how they might 
themselves enter into the fundamental experience, 
their anxiety is manifest and the truly philosophic 
inclination of their mind. 

But the contemplation which absolves the Second 
part of our admonition is cdestial, continues the 
monk Basil, and to be understood with spiritual 
reason ; for the circumstances of everything cannot 
be perceived any other way than by the spiritual 
cogitation of man, considering how nature may be 
helped and perfected by resolution of itself, and how 
the destruction and compaction are to be handled, 
whereby under a just title, without sophistical deceits, 
the pure may be separated from the impure.^ For it 
is no graft from this life that enters into the divine 
foundation, nor any arbitrary instinct; natural reason, 
even the most acute, is dull here comparatively, and 
inoperative, and stands in the Philosophic Work, 
albeit necessary, as a mere circumstantial aid on the 
threshold of the divine inquiiy, as it were an iron 
key, intended to unlock the golden treasury of light 
within. And no sooner, we are informed, has it done 
this, and, further extricating itself, helped to introduce 
the spiritual intellect into self-knowledge^ than this 
latter, returning with power upon the life without, 
proceeds to analyze and revolutionize, proving all, as 
may be said, chemically by the fiery essence of its 

polum fimdati sunt. Qui autem sermocinationibus suis et nugis 
me aliquid docere vult, is me verbis tantum nudis non pascat, sed 
ExperientisD factum documentum simul sit prsesto oportet, sine 
quo nou teueor verbis locum dare, fidemque iis adbibere, &c. 
1 B. Valentine's Chariot of Antimonv, sub initio. 

266 Laws and Conditions. 

newly conceived Law. It is this vital perscrutinator, 
the internal Jive of the sulphur of thy water, as 
Eireneus calls it, that, investigating scientifically, 
operates the whole change. And it is happily pro- 
vided against intruders, lest the casket should be 
rifled of its rich offering, that they only who have 
obtained this passport can attain to the Magistery 
of Life ; since they only, literally speaking, can enter 
in through the narrow gate, as in the Mysteries we 
have already described. And the discovery is difficult, 
and reputed tedious by many who have spared no 
/ , labour either of body or mind in the research — reclusa 
'-t- resed/t longius, as the poet says ; it is far off, gotten in 

the penetralia, as it were, the flower of human intellect, 
triply imprisoned in the dark body's hold. This it is 
the business of the philosopher to open and set free ; 
and this is the security, that he must be a lover of 
Wisdom who can set her free. 

Our fire is the true sulphur of Gold, says Eireneus, 
which in the hard and dry body is imprisoned, but by 
the mediation of our water it is let loose, by rotting 
the moles of the body (/. e., of the ethereal body) 
under which it is detained ; and after separation of the 
elements (of the same body) it appears visibly in our 
Third Menstrual. But the means to discover this 
is not a light work, it requires a profound meditation : 
for this is the seed of Gold, involved in many links, 
and held prisoner, as it were, in a deep dungeon ; he 
that knows not our two Jirst menstrua Is is altogether 
shut out from attaining to the sigJU of this Third and 
last : yet he who knows how to prepare the Jirst 
water, and to join it to the body in a just pondus, to 
shut it up in its vessel philosophicall//, until the infant 
be formed, and, what is greater than all, to govern his 
fire dexterously , so as to cherish internal heat with 
external, and can wait with patience till he see signs ; 
he shall perceive the Jirst water will work on the 
body till it hath opened the pores and extracted partly 
the tincture of Sol. Take counsel ; be not so careful 
of the lire of the Athanor as of vour internal Fire. 

Experimental Method. 267 

Seek it in the house of Aricfi, and draw it from the 
depths of Satiii^n ; let Mercury be the interval, and 
your signal the Doves of Diana} 

On some such errand, we may remember, the Sybil 
sends iEneas, that, from out many entanglements and 
obscurity, he may discover and bring to her the Golden 
Bough, well directing him how to look from beneath 
upwards, and take it in hand. 

Alte vestiga oculis ; et rite repertum, 
Carpe manu ; namque Ipse volens facilisque sequetur, 
Si te fata vocant ; aliter, nou viribus uUis 
Vincere, nee dui'o poteris convellere ferro.'^ 

So Orpheus, in his Argonautics, leading to the Cave 
of Mercury, exhorts mankind how they ought to act 
and study there. 

At qujecimque virum ducit prudentia cordis 
Merciirii ingredier spelimcam plurima ubi ille 
Deponit bona, stat quorum praegrandis acervus 
Ambabus valet liic mauibus sibi sumere, et ista 
Ferre domuin, valet hie visitare incommoda cuncta. 

He, therefore, who wishes to partake of many 
goods, let him approach to the Cave of Mercury, 
which, according to the Hermetic interpretation, is 
Taenerus, the most hidden vapour of life : let him 
enter with a prudent motive, well understanding and 
allied to what he seeks ; and that which he shall bear 
away from thence. Centaur-like, in both his Hands, 
will be the mineral radix and true matter of the Her- 
metic Art. But if he have not a right mind, and 
unless the predestinated conditions and the order of 
operation be observed, all will be vain ; for the power 
will remain hidden, despite of every effort, in a pu- 
sillanimous uncongenial soul. Nescit Sol comitis non 
memor esse sui ; Ignire ignis amat, non aurificare sed 
aurum. Fire loves fire, say they, not to make gold, 
but to assimilate it. Take, therefore, that body which 

^ See Ripley Eevived, pages 2G3, 266, 69. 
'^ ^neid, lib. vi. 145. " 

268 Laws and Conditions. 

is gold, not a brazen ferment, and throw it into 
Mercury — such a Mercury as is bottomless, or 
whose centre it can never find, but by discovering its 

This is the Art of CEdipus, which, well conducted, 
with the Sphinx, ends in her subjugation ; in other 
words, the Ethereal Spirit abandons her phantasy, and 
yields the clear light of understanding to him who, 
having been duly educated and singled out, knows 
how and wherewith to investigate her peculiar es- 
sence. Thus, Synesius says — Intellect above all things 
separates whatever is contrary to the true purity of 
the phantastic Spirit ; for it attenuates this spirit in 
an occult and ineffable manner, and extends it to 
Divinity.^ But the natural Intellect cannot do this, 
neither comprehending properly, or being conceived of 
the Spirit ; neither is its essence so acutely penetra- 
tive as to operate the change required. Salt is good, 
but if the Salt have lost its savour wherewith shall it 
be seasoned? 

And here the common difficulty ensues, as language 
becomes less and less adequate to convey to the 
natural understanding the truth alleged. To conceive 
at once the free perspicacity which experience and 
long study bestowed on those men, their assertion of 
the magic action of mind in her own spheres, the effi- 
cient force of an individual freed wdll upon the vehicle 
of its motive cause, separating, refining, and transmut- 
ing it from an impure, dull consistency to the clear 
light of universal intelligence, is arduous to the unac- 
customed mind ; and in this age, which is without 
a witness, without experimental knowledge, we should 
say, of true causahty, most especially adverse ; yet it 
will be necessary, having so far ventured, to discuss 
the point ; and, as well as we may be enabled, to sub- 
stantialize without deforming this Intellectual Science. 

^ See Ripley Revived, page 206. Maieri Atalanta Fugiens, Ein- 
blema xviii. Lumen de Lumine, p. 97. 

^ See the extract from Synesius de Somuiis, in Taylor's Proclus 
on Euclid. 

Experimental Method. 269 

It may be remembered, in a former citation from his 
book to the Athenians, Paracelsus saying, that Sepa- 
ration is the greatest miracle in philosophy, and that 
magic the most singular by which it is effected ; very 
excellent for quickness of penetration and swiftness of 
operation, the like whereof Nature knows not. Now 
this Separation, of which he speaks, and of which 
all the Hermetic Masters speak, appears to be identical 
with that which is described as taking place in the 
Mysteries, when the great ordeals are passed through 
during the decomposition and death of the natural 
life. The analogy bears throughout from the begin- 
ning in suffering, succedent dread, dissolution, and cor- 
ruption, to the final resurrection of the pure Ether 
into Light. This Separation is indeed the primary 
object of the Art which, continues our doctor, if it 
were divinely done by God alone, it would be to 
no purpose to study after it ; but there is a free power 
in the creature to its mutual affection and destruction ; 
and, again — The free will flourisheth and is conversant 
in virtue, and is either friend or foe in our works ; 
but that is the sequestatrix, which gives to every 
thing its form and essence.^ Which is the part espe- 
cial of Intellect, that sariie perscrutinating Intellect 
which Hermes speaks of,^ and where in the Smaragdine 
Table it is written — Separahis, Thou shalt separate 
the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, 
gently, with much sagacity ; it will ascend from earth 
to heaven, and again descend from heaven to earth, 
and will receive the strength of the Inferiors and 
of the Superiors : this is the strong fortitude of all 
fortitudes, overcoming every strong and penetrating 
every solid thing: therefore let all obscurity flee 
before thee ; so the world was created, and hence are 
all wonderful adaptations of which this is the manner.^ 
So passing wonderful is it i^j^at^ by the same reputed ^^<jpC 

' First book to tlie Athenians, text 9 and 10. 

^ Tractatiis Aureus, cap. ii. 

^ Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis. 

270 Laws and Conditions. 

author, in the Asclepius, that man should be able 
not only to find the Causal Nature but to effect it.' 

Nor ought we, therefore, taking into consideration 
the human agency, to understand this decomponency 
of life in a mechanical sense, or in any ordinary way 
of dissolution ; but, according to the literal wording 
of the Table, we observe Mind to be the true Separa- 
tor, the efficient as well as the regimen of the work, 
into which, as before shown, no foreign admixture is 
allowed to enter. And thus we are given to under- 
stand that the knowledge of the elements of the 
ancient philosophers was not corporally nor impru- 
dently sought after, but is through patience and 
Wisdom to be discovered according to their causes 
and their occult operation; for their operation truly 
is occult, since nothing is discovered except the mat- 
ter be decomposed, and because it is not perfected 
unless the whole introversion is passed through. — 
Auditor, understand, reiterates the great Master ; let 
us use our Reason — consider all with the most accurate 
O^ investigation, the whole rnatter^5=»»d know to be One 
only Thing. ^ 

And as folly, and phantasy, and passion are modes 
of being of the One Thing, and Reason is another ; and 
as the phantasy, if suffered to prevail, will convert all to 
her own folly in the internal life ; so may we judge con- 
trariwise, that this Reason gaining the ascendancy, 
would gather all up, as a ferment, into the superior 
essence and traction of her own Light. This Lully 
intimates ; and Arnold, and Bacon, and Geber, with the 
rest, abundantly celebrating the virtues of their Head 

But if any one should be further dis])osed to ([ues- 
tion their doctrine or demur about the physical eificacv 
of this Reason, let him for a plea only regard the image 

' Asclepius, cap. xiii., see motto on title page. 

- Tract. Aur. cap. iv. 

•' See Lullii Theovia et Practica, et Arbor Scientise, Brancha 
Human. Arnoldi Speculum, Geber Invest, of Perf. ; and again in 
Manget, Suniantur I.apis in capitulis notus, etc. 

Experimental Method. 271 

of it in this life. What else is it hut reason, that 
enables us to analyze and judge opinion, to govern our 
passions, and separate facts from falsehood in the un- 
derstanding? And with the logical faculty, is there 
not a universal evidence which subsists by faith, an 
independent standard by which all things are measured 
and proven in life ? Considering this standard of our 
common faith, abstractedly a prior necessity of being 
also, will be understood, an infinite sufficience, magni- 
tude and eternity of duration ; and thus obtaining a 
glance only of the antecedent, we find less difficulty 
in imagining the superior virtue of that which is 
the Reason of our Rule ; well remembering that it is 
of this the ancients speak, calling it Wisdom, Intellect, 
Gold, Sol, Sulphur, Tincture. Intellectus naturam ha- 
bens subtilem ad intelligendum res intelligibiles par- 
ticipate cum entibus intensis et cum entibus extensis, 
viz., cum intenso calore corporis, cum quo conjunctus 
est et cum intensa bonitate sustentata in suis intensis 
concretis.^ For it is Light indeed, and an occult 
splendor of existence transcendently pure ; and as the 
luminary of the sensible world purifies and subtilizes 
the gross parts of matter, and by a natural chemistry 
sublimes and converts the varied elements of earth, so 
are we taught to conceive of the Intellectual sun ; for 
those things which the natural reason as an image 
enacts theoretically, this supernatural reason is said to 
do as an archetype essentially ; separating and reject- 
ing the false forms and elementary qualities which 
supervene through generation, assimilating the whole in- 
ferior life by continual trituration of its foreign tincture, 
and imparting, according to its paradigmatic virtue, 
perfection to such faculties as are indigent by pure in- 
fusion of Itself to the passified Spirit throughout, even 
as light through the open atmosphere is everywhere 
seen diflfusing itself invigorating and manifesting all. 

' Lullii Arbor X. Scientiae, p. 99, de Intellectu qui est Branclia 
Spiritualis Arboris Humanalis. See also iu Plotinus' Select Works, 
a very beautiful treatise on the Gnostic Hypostasis. 

272 Laws and Conditions. 

The following remarkable extract from the list works 
of Anaxagoras, one of the earliest of the Greek Her- 
metic School, further exemplifying the nature of such 
an Intellect, confirms what has been said above of its 
efficient operation. The passage, as preserved by Sim- 
plicius, is given in a note to Aristotle's Metaphysics, 
by Taylor, page 7, and runs thus : — 

Intellect is infinite and possesses absolute power, 
and is not mingled with any thing ; but is alone itself 
by itself. For if it were not by itself, but were 
mingled with something else, it would participate of 
all things, for in every thing there is a portion of every 
thing ; and things mingled together would prevent it 
from having a similar dominion over things, as when 
alone by itself. For it is the most attenuated and 
pure of all things. It likewise possesses an universal 
knowledge of eveiy thing, and is in the highest sense 
pow^erful. Whatever soul possesses greater or lesser, 
over all these Intellect has dominion. Every thing too 
that comprehends or contains is subject to its power ; 
so that it even comprehends the Principle itself. And 
first of all indeed, it began from that which is small 
to exercise its comprehending power, but afterwards 
it comprehended more and more abundantly ; Intellect 
also knew all that was mingled together, and separated 
and divided, together with what they would in future 
be, what they had been, and Avhat they now are. All 
these Intellect adorned in an orderly manner, together 
with this circular enclosure which is now comprehended 
teg by the stars, the sun, and the moon, the air and 
the ether, which are separat»g from each other. But 
this comprehending Intellect made things to be sepa- 
rated ; and separated the dense from the rare, the hot 
from the cold, the lucid from the dark, and the dry 
from the moist. There are many parts indeed of many 
things ; but in short no one thing is singular by itself 
except Intellect. Every Intellect too is similar, both 
the greater and tlie lesser ; but no otiier thing is 
similar to another.' 

' Aristotle's Metaphysics, note, page 7. 


Experimental Method. 273 

That is to say, no other faculty is universal, or of 
itself alone consciously distinguishable pJuat this root ej^aJ^M-'^ 
of reason which is truly catholic ; and so by the micro- 
cosmic experiment into It, the knowledge of the ma- 
crocosmic Cause also was derived. For in the Hermetic 
process they are seen to co-operate ; and all that 
Anaxagoras here speaks of as relatively past, has been 
described as present by philosophers on the internal 
ground. Else, how should men have asserted^such 
things (abQjut_jntejJect_ajid the rat ional facj ilty/as by 
no means belong to the natural revelation of it, if they 
had not known another and proved the work divine? (^ 
No one could assert them now. fesr believe, indeed, ^o»xi2y 
that mind is asgrthing really but an elaboration of the 
brain, a resulting phenomenon of organization. Sen- 
sible evidence favours such an opinion, for life is no- 
where seen apart by itself, but follows constantly as a 
result of material generation in order of effect to cause ; 
and human reason, as a ray of light, reflected apart 
from its originating focus, is halting and impotent in 
respect of nature, and unconscious of its First Source. 

There is a piece of Egyptian mythology, related by 
Eudoxus in Plutarch, concerning Jupiter, that his feet 
had grown together and that he was forced to live in 
solitude, and ashamed of himself as it were ; until at 
length Isis, pitying his forlorn condition, succeeded in 
cutting them asunder, and so restored him to himself 
and to society. And this, continues the scholar, is 
designed to represent to us that the mind and reason 
of the Supreme God, which in nature is invisible and 
dwelling in obscurity, by being put in motion becomes 
known, and proceeds to the production of other 
beings.^ And this too is an allegory of the Art, in 
which the purified spirit or inteUigence, that is Isis, by 
dissolving the vital medium, opens the occult source, 
and draws the Voluntary Efficient upward into intel- 
lectual reminiscence. And this latAat one thing aeed-- ^ 
6iLjidiicli-4ua^i t to be consummated, that man may 
know himself; whence, what for, and whereto, he is 

^ See the Treatise De Iside et Osiride. 


274 Laws and Conditions. 

allied. — All is one soul, says the Magian, but reason, 
unless it be illuminated, is not free from error, and 
Light is not given to reason except God impart it ; for 
the first Light is in God. far exceeding all understand- 
ing.^ And Aristotle says, That Intellect must be as- 
sumed which is most perfectly purified ; the know- 
ledge of which must be sought for in spirit or spirits, 
bv iiim who aspires to obtain it. For this indeed is 
pure, and possesses an ineffable beaut}^ because it is 
nothing but Intellect. For the beauty of Spirit is the 
highest beauty when it energizes intellectually, with- 
out error, and purely ; and it knows things not as 
discovered by human labour, but as they are unfolded 
by the Divine will.^ The Alexandrian Plotinus also 
speaking of such an Intellect, describes the material 
of it as beautiful, and as far surpassing ordinary intel- 
ligence, as paradigms are wont to do the images which 
represent them ; and the soul receives with it, he says, 
a sudden Light, and this Light is from Intellect, and 
is also It.^ 

It would be mere perplexity, and evince a want of 
rational perception, to regard this Reason therefore as 
inessential ; or as arbitrary, either in operation, or 
event ; since, in our mere individual consciousness it 
is the foundation of all law — the only unerring neces- 
sity of faith in this life ; the luminous revelation of 
which in a purified human intcUigencc, is that perfect 
beginning of Wisdom, which is half of the perfect whole. 

Dimidium facti qui bene cocpit habet, says the phi- 
losopher ; for a small grain of the metaphysical fer- 
ment, leavens the whole lump. And as the grain of 
wheat is putrefied in the earth, and afterwards by the 
tc^cJi . nouriohmcnt of watoi? becomes growing wheat, termi- 
nating and multiplying in the fermental form inbred, 
so the metaphysical graft, already purified and passed 

^ Agrippa's Third Book of Occult Phil. chap, xliii. 

2 This passage is taken from one of those singularly instructive 
treatises attributed to Aristotle by his Arabian compilers, as 
rendered by Taylor, from the Latin of Albertus Magnus in his 
Dissertation, book iii. 

•'' Plotinus, Select Works on the Gnostic Hypostasis, &c. 

Experimental Method. 275 

the fire, re-enters to redeem its congenital life, and 
finally by assimilation transmutes all into the sub- 
stance of its own Aurific Light. 

During the process of working this leaven, many 
phenomena arise, and those wonders which, having 
been variously observed, are described and poetized ; 
for this acute discriminative sulphuric Spirit occasions 
a putrefaction of the philosopher's Mercury, i. e. of the 
impure vapour of life, into which it enters, so that all 
the elements are in commotion, raging, swelling, and 
rolling like a tempestuous sea ; darkness, made visible 
by the appearing light, shrinks more and more con- 
densing ; and falsehood, as it were, trembling for her 
kingdom, puts on every sinister guise, to combat and 
eclipse the living truth, as, increasing in power and 
armed with bright eftulgence, it arises, threatening 
to dissipate the total fabric, and dissolve its very 

So did the armour of Achilles, while yet far off he 
only showed himself, dismay the assembled hosts of 
Troy ; that shield so ominous in its device, breast- 
plate, and helmet's crest of gold, forged by Vulcan, 
at Thetis's prayer for her hero in Olympus ; where- 
with he single-handed overcame them all — gods, men, 
and rivers — triumphant in the divine fury which roused 
him to the fight. ^ And here the poetic allegory like- 
wise is apparent ; Achilles does not appear at all in 
arms, nor has he these, until after Patroclus, his bosom / 
friend, is slain; just as Misen^s' funeral rites must be I ^/ 
celebrated before .y^neas is allowed to journey to the 
infernal shades.^ Peculiar too the rites are, which the 
Sybil enjoins, and the sacrifices to be made to those 
remains, as at the pile of Patroclus, set on the sea- 
shore. Let it not be believed that Virgil on this or 
on any other occasion was so servile an imitator, jjfor 
that either poet is relating events of human history, 

' See Iliad, book x. ApoUon. Ehodius Argonaut, lib. ii. 

So the gloomy god 

Stood mute with fear to see the golden rod, &c. 
2 ^neid, lib. vi. 149. 

T 2 


276 Laws and Conditions. 

or magnifying the heroes of a common fight; but 
Virgil and Homer agree in this, that they adopted the 
same theme, had witnessed the same heroic conflict, 
the same summary action of Divine vengeance and 
mysterious metamorphosis of Ufe ; their warriors, 
therefore, are demigods divinely tutored and sus- 
tained — free from the dilemma of earthly difficulties, 
and in their strength and use of it sublime. If tra- 
dition was useful to supply their imagery, the inci- 
dents are nevertheless woven into a mystical ac- 
cord, and natural probability and the relations of time 
are unscnipulously sacrificed to the report of Truth. 
And they who have partaken of the same mystic 
knowledge from the Greeks — Plato, Proclus, Por- 
C^\, phyiy, to Faber, ToUius, and Michael Ma^, the 
golden chain of Hermetic philosophers — unanimously 
tracing even through minutest incidents their allusion, 
— have claimed those poets for their own. Skilfully, 
doubt not, they have delineated the most poetical of 
Arts ; and the admiring world has listened, but with- 
out understanding ; and may long continue to do so : 
— Yet we will proceed : — 

For the friends of those heroes must die indeed, as 
they arc said to do — those bosom friends — and be 
lamented ; for the celestial medial life which, in the 
order of divine rites, precedes the heroic work, is by 
necessity cut off, even in its prime ; when perfected at 
all points, is shut up and buried ; all but the hallowed 
memory burning to retrieve. Thus the excellent 
poet Manzoli, whose assumed name of Palingenius 
denotes one regenerated, divulges the artificial method 
in the few following hues : — 

Ilunc juvenem Arcadium, infidiim, niuiiumque fugacera, 
Prendite, et inimersum Stygiis occidite lymphis. 
]\Tt)x TTyales gremio impositum. Dens excipiat quein 
Lemnia terra colit, siiblatumque in cruce figat. 
Tunc sepelite utero in calido et dissolvite putreni, 
Cujus stillantes artns de corpore nostro, 
Spiritus egredius penetrabit, et ordine miro, 
Paulatim extinctum nigris revooabit ab umbris 
Aurata indutum chlaniyde, argentoque nitonteni ; 


Experimental Method. 277 

Projicite hunc demum in prkaoe , renovabitiir alter hh^-iyrxjCi^ 

Ut Phoenix, et qu93 tangit perfecta relinquet ' 

Corpora, Naturae leges et foedera vincens : 
Mutabit species paupertatemque fugabit. (Tj) 

Which has been rendered thus : — 

Take this Arcadian slippery lad that's apt to fly, 

And in the glittering Stygian lake, drowned let him die, 

Then set on Hyale's lap, let Lemnos' God 

Take him to feed, and crucify the lad. 

Then in a warm womb placed, his taint dissolve. 

Whose dropping limbs a spirit shall devolve, 

To him and penetrate ; and strangely so. 

Dead by degrees, shaU bring to life anew 

All clad in robes of gold and silver hue. 

Cast him again on hot coals, Proteus like 

He'll be renewed, and aU he touches make 

Most perfect ; nature's laws and promises excel, 

Species he'll change and poverty repel. 

Nothing is done radically to meliorate the Vital 
Spirit previous to this dissolution of the first medial 
life : so Hyanthe died, so Hylas at the fountain, / 
Adonis, Misen^s, Elpenor, Patroclus, too, before the /CaJ 
heroic virtue was brought into act. It needs a motive / 

and excitation ; and this is given by artifice of the 
Divine Law depriving it when in full vigour of its 
Understanding Light. So Eurydice was lost to Orpheus 
and Proserpine by Pluto's stratagem, whom the god- 
dess Ceres too bewails ; for the identical dilemma is 
common to these all, who personate the wanderings 
and anguish of Intellect so artificially isolated on the 
plain of Truth. 

'Tis not in fate th' alternate then to give, 
Patroclus dead, Achilles hates to live. 
Let me revenge it on proud Hector's heart, 
Let his last spirit smoke upon my dart ; 
On these conditions will I breathe, till then 
I blush to walk among the race of men.^ 

Nor all in vain was that vindictive will conceived, 
or those heroic tears, though Pope has rendered them 

2- Pope's Homer's Iliad, book xviii. xx. to c. also Fawke's Apol-- 
lonius Ehodius Argonuatics, boolv i. He too Alcides, ^c. 

278 Laws and Conditions. 

" unavailing." Not so the master. Nor is anything, 
we believe, in that so lengthened Iliad of woes un- 
purposed, or with all its inconsistencies, untrue : but 
in those particulars above all suggestive, which are 
to common sense least bent ; such weeping warriors, 
so much brave reserve, such radiant armour, such a 
magic strength of hand, and eye, and voice, to kill 
and terrify whole armies and convulse the elements, 
belongs but to one race, one cause, one conflict ; Di- 
vinity mingles but in one, the war of life. And for 
this cause the Heroic Will enters in, self-sacrificing, 
and stirs up the bitter waters, to redeem and reinstate 
the kingdom lost. But Achilles, too, must die and 
sufl:'er, as was predestinated, before the fatal gates, as 
iEneas leaves the dedicated bough in Tartarus. For 
how otherwise should that which is sown be quick- 
ened unless it die ? Does not the grain putrefy in the 
moist earth before it springs ? So each succeeding life 
must die, as transplanted in the next, it dissolves, cor- 
rupts, and rises into a better form. For when thou 
sowest, as the great Apostle says, thou sowest not 
that body that shall be ;^ but it is the Law especial of 
spiritual generation that the parent is bettered in the 
offspring, even to the fourth generation, or fifth, if 
this happily should be attained. — There is an earthly 
body and there is a spiritual body — the terrestrial is 
bettered in the celestial, and the celestial, descending 
and overcoming, is conceived into the divine. No 
man ascends up into heaven but he who came down 
from heavot, even the sooi of man which is in heaven. 
f/j-^j\^j This is the true Light which lighteth/,nian that conieth 

^' into the world, which in the Saviour was perfected; 

one ray of which is able to cleanse this leprous life of 
ours, and convert it to the purest spiritual extreme. 

Cujus de lurnine lumen 
Omuc niicat ; sine quo tenebrescunt lucida de quo 
(yr\ClyrryU£^^\^ Lucescunt tenebrce atque i»aiiie*» noctis imago. 

Speaking of the Intellectual Essence, Plotinus writes 
^ St. Paul to the Corinthiaais, 1st ep. xv. 37. 

Experimental Method. 279 

to the effect, that we should not at first hope to ob- 
tain the universal subject, but through the medium of 
an image, and be satisfied — such is his expression — with 
a certain portion of gold, as a representative of uni- 
versal gold ;^ and therefore Anaxagoras says, it begins 
from that which is small to exercise its comprehending 
power. Ramus, non arbor — The bough, not the whole 
tree, is to be taken. For, in however small a propor- 
tion, if the reason be but pure, it will penetrate 
according to its purity, and gather growth ; but if it 
be not pure, in other words, if the motive be not uni- 
versal, it must be returned, to work, and resolve, and 
meditate, and prove, until it finds experience at length 
in the supreme Unity of its Law. To find the true 
Separator is described, in fact, as the greatest diffi- 
culty ; ^ as we may remember also in Virgil, the tree 
is hid. 

Hunc tegit omnis 
Liicus et obscuris claudaut convallibus umbrae. 

The tree of life covered over, indeed, with the dark 
oblivion of this natural outbirth, is latent and difficult 
to find, even for him who has already passed the tur- 
bulent waters of the senses' medium and sees within. 
For it lies not in art merely, or in natural cunning, 
but with the celestial instinct only to reveal ; that 
subtle Maternal intelligence which originally conceived 
it, and can alone lead into the yet more central, ante- 
cedent, Paternal light of life. 

Maternas agnoscit aves laetusque precatur 
Este duces, 0, si qua via est cursumque per auras 
Dirigite iu lucos, ubi piuguem dives opaeat 
Eamus humuin.'^ 

Thus has the premeditation of the Divine Art been 
poetized ; and the discovery of that heroic, separable, 
triply refined intellectual purpose, which has been so 

1 Select Works; Ennead, v. lib. viii. 

2 L. Comitibus MetaUar. Nat. Oper. lib. iv. cap. vii. ; Chrysopaea 
lib. ii. 

3 ^neid. lib. vi. 138, 193. 

280 Laws and Conditions. 

often and under so many names personified — Hercules, 
Jason, Lynceus, Perseus, Cadmus, GEdipus, Diony- 
siis, Achilles, Bacchus, Amphiaraus, our Son, as 
Hermes calls him, born a king^ who, taking his tinc- 
ture from the fire^passes through darkness, and death, 
and Stygian waters. This is that prolific Mustard-seed, 
and Light of divine Faith, which being the proper sub- 
stance of the thing hoped for, penetrates into the yet 
unseen reality of life ; it is this, which, visiting the 
interior rectifying, discovers the occult Stone — the 
hidden Medicine. Such was the Caduceus of Hermes — 
the Golden Bough, the ferrying Cup of Hercules, and 
all the golden passports admitting to those realms, so 
dangerous to folly, and dehghtftil to Wisdom recover- 
ing her lost Efficient in the Light of life. 

This vertical separated Light then we take henceforth 
to be the true alterative principle in the Divine Art, — 
The Alchemists are excessively wary in speaking of it, 
as they are indeed concerning the human circumstances 
of the mystery throughout. For as we may by this time 
perceive, it is no common light that enters into Di- 
vinity, but a congenial ray ; a Power which glancing 
forth from the capable will of suchj^ as are divinised, 
tta^, is essentially Divine. The persevering Trevisan 
worked for upwards of half a century in vain, until he 
found this ; and Pontanus in his Epistle confesses how 
he erred tw^o hundred times, experimenting even after 
he had attained a general knowledge of the matter 
and method of its use, never correctly divining the 
Identity of the singular thing itself. Seek therefore, 
he says, writing to his friend, seek to know this Fire 
with all thy soul, that so thou may est attain to thy 
desire ; for it is the key of all the philosophers which 
they have never openly revealed. But profound medi- 
tation alone can give it to thee, so thou mayest dis- 
cern, and not otherwise.^ Other examples w'e have in 
Zachary, and in Flamn^el ; w ho, after he was conversant 
in the matter^ and had both fire and furnace indicated 
to him by Abraham the Jew, wandered in the wilder- 

^ See Pontanus Ejiistle in Theat. Chem. 

Experimental Method. 281 

ness of uncertainty for three several years. Madathan, 
another celebrated adept, is cited by Vaughan as 
having practised for five years together unsuccessfully^, 
until at last, he says^ after the sixth year, I was en- 
trusted with the Key of Power, by a secret revelation 
from Almighty God,^ Contemplate therefore and ob- 
serve, says Basil Valentine, these things diligently, for 
in the preparation of Antimony consists the Key of 
Alchemy, and this principal key is of great concern. 
Be it known, moreover, that our stone of Fire (which 
is Antimony) ought to be boiled and maturated with 
the corporeal fire of the microcosm, for at the farewell, 
or ne plus ultra, of the operative fire of the macro- 
cosm, the fire of the microcosm doth begin the pro- 
duction of a new species or generation ; and, there- 
fore, let no man wonder at thiscoction,^ And believe 
not only Basil, says Kirchwigius, but me ; with the 
same faith and sincerity, afiirming to you that this 
first key is the principal part of the whole Art ; this 
opens the first gate, this will also unlock the last, 
which leads into the palace of the king. Believe not 
only, but consider and observe. Here you stand in 
the entrance ; if you miss the door, all your course will 
be en'or ; all your haste ruin ; and all your wisdom 
foolishness. He who obtains this Key and knows the 
method, which is called Manual Operation, by which to 
use it, and hath strength to turn the same, will acquire 
riches, and an open passage into the mysteries of che- 

Sophistry, it will be observed therefore is no leader 
in this Art, or avarice, or ignorance ; but he who pre- 
sumes without the revelation of the Divine Light to 
introduce his own blind purpose, instead of condition- 
ating and inquiring patiently, will be in danger of 

1 Post sextum annum clavis potentiae per arcauam revela- f\/} u^Qt^yrr^ 
tionem ab omnipotente Deo mihi concredita est, &c. ; see Lumen -/'/•x*/?^ 
de Lumine, p. 67. ^ H€Jy>^^^^ > 

2 Chariot of Antimony, p. 24 ; Stone of Fire, pp. 160, 168; Idem, 
p. 24; ako Dyou. Zachary Opusculvmi, part ii. ; Lucerna Salis, p. 
64, &c. 

282 Laws and Conditions 

falling into infinite snares. The Law of Nature, 
being simple and harmoniously framed, will baffle him 
and rise up in judgment against his generation, and 
condemn him to wander in the labyrinth alone. Hence, 
all the care that is taken to train the true Inquisitor, 
that he may obtain the passport clear, as we have 
h\^0JH^ shown it; that he^know what, and where, and how he 
/J ought to obey, and inquire, and will, and hope. 

And it is therefore declared to all lovers of Art, says 
.Jacob Bohme, whose Separator is an artist of great 
subtlety in them, that they first seek God's love and 
grace, and resign up themselves to become wholly one 
with that : else all their seeking is but a delusion, or 
a courting of a shadow, and nothing is found in any 
fundamental, worth, unless one doth entrust another 
with soiueivhat. The which is forbidden to the children 
of God in whom the grace is revealed, that they cast 
not pearls before swine, upon the pain of eternal pu- 
nishment ; only it is freely granted to them to declare 
the light, and to show the way of attaining the pearl : 
but to give the divine Separator into the bestial hand 
is prohibited, unless a man knoweth the way and will 
of him that desires it.^ 

We do not see either that it is exactly possible to 
give into such possession that which is divine ; except, 
indeed, the Theosophist alludes to a mediate occupa- 
tion. And this brings us to consider more i)articularly 
the representative understanding, measure, and guar- 
dian of the Light ; for, as we may remark in the fables, 
the heroic adventurer with all his divine equipment, 
though he loses his first companion, never goes 
through the labours alone ; but is aided by stratagem 
and wise council in the way. Without Ariadne's con- 
duct, Theseus could not have tamed the Minotaur ; or 
Jason, but for the ready counsel and assistance of 
Medea, have obtained the fleece ; Eurystheus sets Her- 
cules to the performance of each separate labour ; his 

^ See Bohme's Epistles ; and to the same effect on The Turned 
Eye ; printed with the rest of his works, in 4to. 

Experimental Method. 283 

mother aids Achilles ; JUpcnor , Ulysses ; and the Sybil 
accompanies JEneas through the infernal shades. In 
Alchemy, too, the Moon is singularly honoured ; for 
it is the Passive Intelligence which, freed by art and 
set in conjunction, responds to the Will of her seek- 
ing Reason ; discovers the way of progress, unra- 
velling the context of each involuted thought, and 
setting aside obstacles with utmost discretion, passes 
with him through the abyss, as it were the very king- 
dom of confusion, triumphant over all and uncon- ^ . 
founded. It is from within that the knowledge^ to- '^^^^^-^'^^^^ 
gether with the true efficient, t-pi'ii^f^ (which are indeed 
one in principle, but in their practical operation and 
for the sake of offspring are distinguished and sepa- 
rately represented in the Art), revealing at the same 
time their origin, essence, and destination. The mode 
of analysis however is directed, and the means for the 
most part provided by the Passive Understanding 
gotten in transcendental contemplation of herself. 


verunt, et non est vas nigromanticum sed est 
Mensura Ignis tui.^ 

Both therefore have to be prepared — the spiritual 
agent and the spiritual patient — according to those 
words of the Smaragdine Table ; That which is above 
is as that which is below, and that which is below is as 
that which is above, for performing the miracles of the 
One Thing whence all the rest proceed by adaptation. 
It is not lawful therefore, in this work, to conjoin unlike 
natures ; but, in order to bettering/ in the offspring, 
equal Spirits are allied ; as Hermes says, both need the 
help one of Miother, for the precepts demand a me- 
dium -^ that as the crude natural life was in the first 
place bettered in the natural, so the supernatural may 
be so much further advanced within themselves, even 
to the order of bodies permanent, being changed from 
a corporeal to a spiritual extreme : 

^ Maria Practica, in fine 
- Tract. Aureus, cap. ii. 

284 Laws and Conditions. 

Ouvriei'.sur tout aye cure 
Que I'art imite la nature, 
L'externe feu de charbon 
Rend la matiere alteree, 
Mais I'iuterne et I'setheree 
Faira ton ouvrage bon.' 

The fire of the natural life stirs up and, being manu- 
mitted, alters ; but the internal alone is able, being 
purified, to perfect the work begun ; according to that 
other saying of the sage — Si pariat ventum valet auri 
pondera centum — if wind be made of gold it is worth 
an hundredfold. Let us be careful therefore to dis- 
tinguish, in our conception, the pure from the impure, 
the rectified spirit of universal reason and its intelli- 
gence from the gross ether and perplexed understand- 
ing of this mundane sphere. For there cannot come 
of any thing that virtue which it has not ; though 
that which it has indeed may be improved and mag- 
nified. And therefore it behoves us to mortify two 
Argent vives together, says Hermes ; both to venerate 
and to be venerated, viz., the Argent vive of Auripig- 
ment and the Oriental Argent vive of Magnesia.^ 

Sol meus et kadii sunt in me intime, Ltjna veeo pro- 
pbia meum lumen est, omne lumen supebans ; et bona 


These are they which sound the depths together ; the 
Sun and Moon, philosophical. And as the influence 
of the Moon, says Plutarch, seems to reflect the 
ivorks of reason, and to proceed from Wisdom, so the 
operations of the Sun are seen to resemble those 
strokes which by mere dint of strength and force bear 
down all before them. You also have been initiated 
in those Mysteries in which there are two pair of eyes, 
and it is requisite that the pair which are beneath 
should be closed when the pair that are above them 
perceive, and when the pair above are closed those 
which are beneath should be opened. Think therefore, 

^ Tract. Aureus, Scbolium, cap. i. 
^ Tract. Aur. cap. iii. 
•^ Idem, cap. iv. 

Experimental Method. 285 

says Synesius, explaining the same Egyptian Mythology 
of Isis and Osiris, that this is an enigma indicative of 
contemplation and action ; the intermediate nature 
alternately energising according to each of these. ^ Pro- 
clus, also dividing the ApoUonical Intellect, remarks 
that the pi^ophetic power unfolds the simplicity of truth 
and takes away the variety of that which is false ; but 
the arrow-darting power exterminates everything, 
furious and wild, and prepares that which is orderly 
and gentle to exercise dominion, vindicating to itself 
Unity. ^ 

Power alone, indeed, if destitute of the ruling aid of 
Wisdom, would be borne along with violence, minghng 
and destroying all things ; yet nature will not move by 
mere theory either, and Intellect is therefore useless 
for the purposes of action when deprived of the sub- 
serviency of the hands. But these two concurring. Wis- 
dom with Power in action, all things become possible ; 
and in such a subtle and firm texture of divine 
splendor and prophetic companionship, the Will may 
descend in safety to the abodes of Power. A wise man 
is strong, says the wise king, and knowledge increaseth 
strength. Two are better than one, because they have 
a good reward for their labour ; as in w^ater face an- 
swers to face, so the heart of man to man.^ 

By mutual confidence and mutual aid 
Great deeds are done and great discoveries made. 
The wise new prudence from the wise acquire, 
And one brave hero fans another's lire.'* 

And as the Rational Efficient, armed with a bright 
intelligence, discovers the evil of its first conception, 
now appearing manifold within the veil, it proceeds 
even to a dissolution of the yital bond, continually 

1 See Extracts from his treatise on Providence, at the end of 
Plotinus' Select "Works, by Taylor, p. 531 ; and Plutarch, Isis and 
Osiris, circa mediam. 

- Proclus on the Theology of Plato — Scholia on the Cratylus. 

^ Proverbs, chap. xxiv. xxvii. Eccles. iv. 

4 Iliad, book x. 265. 

286 Laws and Conditions. 

imaging its revelation in act.-Vfr*Belovcd brother, advises 
the experienced and earnest Bohme, if you would 
seek the Mystery, seek it not in the outivard spirit ; 
you will there be deceived, and attain nothing hut a 
glance of the mystery ; enter in even to the Cross, 
then seek gold and you will not be deceived. You 
must seek in another world for the pure child that is 
without spot ; in this Vv'orld you find only the drossy 
child, that is altogether imperfect ; but go about it in 
a right manner ; enter in even to the cross in the 
Fourth Form, there you have Sol and Luna together ; 
bring them through an anguish into death, and bruise 
that composed magical body so long until it become 
asrain that which it was before in the centre of the 


will ; and then it becometh magical and hungry after 
nature. It is a longing in the eternal desire, and would 
fain have a body; give it Sol, viz., the soul, that con- 
joining they may conceive a body according to that 
soul. So the Will springs up in Paradise with fair 
golden fruits. We speak not here of a glass or image, 
but of gold, whereof men vaunt themselves, their 
idol god.^ 

In such few words does the Theosophist comprehend 
the end and beginning of the Sacred Art, the sum of 
the divine Intention and its vital fruits ; for by death 
and contrition of the agent in the patient, and vice 
versa, the old life is finally crucified ; and out of that 
crucifixion, by reunion of the principles under another 
law, the new life is elicited ; which life is a very real 
and pure Quintessence, the Mercury so much sought 
after, even the Elixir of Life ; which needs only the 
corroborative virtue of the Divine light v.diich it draws, 
in order to become the living gold of the philosophers, 
transmuting and multiplicative — the concrete for??i of 
that which in the dead metal we esteem. — O Nature, 
the most magnanimous creatrix of natures ! cries the 
Master, which containest and separatest all things in 
a middle principle ! Our Stone comes with Light, and 

Quest. 17, &c. 


Experimental Method. 287 

with Light it is generated ; and then it brings forth 
the clouds, or darkness, which is the mother of all 

Let us pause here, then, to consider what it was the 
philosophers really searched for and discovered in this 
Stone ; that we may be prepared to learn some more 
definite particulars of their practice, and in what condi- 
tion the vital elements are placed during their experi- 
ment and recreation. We have seen that, next to the 
first preliminaries, the object was to produce an altera- 
tion in the Vital Spirit, and that this was operated by 
a true Rational Analysis, which, repeatedly passed 
through, leads on to a dissolution of the whole natural 
born hypostasis, and is the condition proper to induce 
a new life and growth into consciousness. That which 
they sought after, and profess accordingly to have dis- 
covered, therefore, is this miraculous principle of re- 
generation ; by which the relationships of the vital 
elements are exchanged ; the sensible medium, which 
in this present birth is dominant, being made occult ; 
and the occult supernatural reason of life, which is 
catholic . ^fe^, becoming manifest in #B self-evidence 
and power. 

And this is the true way and means by which the 
metaphysical body of gold will be made profitable, and 
in no other way, as the adepts teach ; but by taking 
that body, when it is found, and joining it with a spirit 
which is consanguineous and proper to it, and circulat- 
ing these two natures one upon the other, until one 
have conceived by the other. — Pinge duos Angues, 
cries Cornelius Agrippa ; or, to proceed in the more 
suggestive language of his ingenious disciple — Take our 
two serpents, which are to be found everywhere on the 
face of the earth ; they are a li\dng male and a living 
female (understand in relation to the spirit always 
without all corporeal allusion) ; tie them in a love 
knot and shut them up in the Arabian Caralia. This 
is the Jirst labour ; but the next is more difficult. 
Thou must incamp against them with the Jire of na- 

^ Tractatus Aureus, cap. iii. 

288 Laws and Conditions. 

tare, and be sure thou dost bring thy line round 
about. Circle them in, and stop all avenues, that they 
find no relief. Continue this siege patientlij, and they 
turn into an ugly venomous black toad ; which will be 
transformed to a horrible devouring dragon, creeping 
and weltering in the bottom of her cave, without 
wings. Touch her not by any means, continues the 
adept, not so much as with thy hands, for there is not 
upon earth such a vehement transcendant poison. As 
thou hast begun so proceed, and this dragon will turn 
into a swan, but more white than the hovering virgin 
snoiv when it is not yet sullied -with, the earth. Hence- 
forth I will allow thee to fortify thy Jire, till the 
Phcenix appears. It is a red bird of a most deep 
colour with a sliining Jiery hue. Feed this bird with 
i\\Qfire of his father and the ether of his mother ; for 
the first is meat, the second is drink, and without this 
last he attains not to his full glory. Be sure to un- 
derstand this secret ; for Jire feeds not well unless it be 
Jirst fed. It is of itself (hy and choleric, but a proper 
■moisture tempers it, gives it a heavenly complexion and 
brings it to the desired exattatioj/. Feed thy bi/^d then 
as I have told thee, and he will move in his ?2est, and 
rise like a star of the Jifinamenf. Do this, and thou 
J hast placed nature in the horizon of Eternity. Thou 

/\ ; hast performed that command of the ^abalist. Unite 
■c^ ; the Old to the beginning as the flame is united to the 
I coal; for the Lord is superlatively one and admits of no 

second.^ Consider what it is you seek : you seek an 
indissoluble, miraculous, transmuting, uniting union ; 
but such a tie cannot be w^ithout the Jirst unity. For 
to create and to transmute essentially and naturally 
without violence is the proper office of i\\e Jirst power, 
the Jirst wisdom and the Jirst love. Without this love 
the elements will never be married ; they will never in- 
ward and essentially unite ; which is the end and per- 
fection of magic. '^ 

1 Liber Jezirah, cap. i. Fige fiuem in priucipio sicut flammam 
pruna) coujunctani, quia Dominua superlative unus, et non tenet 

2 Vaughan, Lumen cle Lumine, p. 62, and following. 

Experimental Method. 289 

ThusVaughan: the italics, copied from the original, 
serve well to denote where a latent meaning- is implied 
and those analogies which are aptly referrible throughout 
the process. The following verses translated from the 
Aquarium Sapieutian of about the same period, may help 
to elucidate the subject further and lead on the dis- 
cerning mind. 

The spirit is given to the body for a time, 

Aud that refreshing spirit washes the soul by art ; 

If the spirit suddenly attracts the soul to itself; 

Then nothing can separate it from itself. 

Then they consist in Three and yet abide in one seat. 

Until the noble body is dissolved, aud putrefy and sepai'ate from 

them ; 
Then after some time the spirit ajid soul come together 
In the extreme or last heat, and each maintains its proper seat in 

Then, nothing wanting, an entire sound estate and perfection is 

at hand. 
And the work is glorified with great joy.^ 

This is the constant doctrine and rule of the regene- 
ration of light out of darkness, of life from death ; 
the solution of the sense-born spirit and its subsequent 
sublimation, by a preponderant affinity artificially en- 
dowed, into the transparent glory of its prototypic 
form. And thus we learn from adepts, though parti- 
culars vary, that nature was not proved by them at 
random ; for neither does she move by theory only or 
mere mechanic art, but by rational experiment and 
the light of faith, which, entering, stirs up the inward 
oppressed fire of the chaotic natural-born life, and en- 
deavours to convert, as it were, by a pure conscience, 
mo\ang the matter to a contrite state; which at length 
penetrating to meet the self-willed Identity within, is 
arrested, and the contest of good and evil commences in 
the soul, each striving for the ascendant, until the latter 
prevailing for a period {mek such being the necessitous 
decree) an eclipsation of the light takes place, and a 
dissolution of its body, as was before shown. And, as 
we read in the fable, Typhon killed Osiris, his uterine 

' Aquarium HapientAm, in Mus. Kerm. The Enigma. 

29U Laws and Conditions. 

brother, and scattered his members to the four winds 
and usm'ped his rightful throne ; but Isis, re- collecting, 
hides them in a chest : just so the ethereal hypos- 
tasis is divided against itself and brought to a separa- 
tion even as these three ; the soul, the spirit, and the 
body's principle; the paternal, maternal, and proceed- 
ing substance of life ; sulphur, mercury, salt. The sul- 
phur, which is the soul and golden ferment, being dislo- 
cated in its purpose by the opposive will, is carried 
aloft to float upon the ethereal waters, whilst these con- 
tinue to tear, decoct, and soften the sensual dominant 
and make it more fit for the returning reason and un- 
derstanding to work upon ; for it is brought to an ex- 
tremity indeed, and made to feel the want of the light . 
it had rejected. The light moreover elocritot ascend//7i^ 
bfliuiii carries with it a fermental odour of the body, ^ 
which by the divine Art also is so contrived in order 
that the soul may not depart altogether into the re- 
gion of nonentity. Thus Hermes — Take, my son, the 
flying bird and drown it flying, then divide and cleanse 
it from its filth which keeps it in death ; expel this and 
put away all pollution, that it may live and answer thee, 
not by flying away indeed but truly by forbearing to 
fly.' And all the while, during this period of the se- 
veration, a wonderful coction is described as going on; 
the earth is overflown with waters^ the two great 
lights are eclipsed, the air is darkened, and all things 
are in confusion and disorderly relation, by reason of 
the successive passion and prevalence of the vital 
principles one over another; for the balance is so 
maintained that they can neither be said properly to 
die or live according to that descriptive Prosopopoeia of 
the Stone. 

Non ego coutinue morior dum spiritus exit. 

Jam redit assidue quanivis et ssepe recedit 

Et mihi nunc magna est anima, nunc nulla faeultas. 

Plus ego sustinui quam corpus debuit unum, 
Tres animas habui, quas omnes intus habebani, 
Discessere dua\ scd Tertia po'iie secuta est, &c. 

' Tract. Aur. cap. ii. 

Experimental Method. 291 

I am not dead although my spirit's gone, 
For it returns, and is botli off and on, 
Now I have life, now I have none ; 

I suffered more than one coidd justly do, 
Three souls I had, and all my own ; but two 
Are fled ; the third had almost left me too.^ 

Unremitting care and attention are enjoined at this 
critical juncture, lest either of the dissolute elements 
should escape from its legitimate attraction, and the 
property of the Spirit, which is as yet indifferent 
to life or death, should by force of too strong afire, as 
LuUy explains, be dissevered from the body, and the 
soul thenceforth depart into the region of her own 
sphere. And therefore he says, — Let the heavenly 
power or agent be such in the place of generation, 
or mutation, that it may alter the humidity from 
its earthly complexion to a fine transparent form or 
species.^ Uejir 

But we are not !*§#©• proposing to exhibit the Prac- 
tice, but only to understand it. Previous, therefore, 
to the birth and fruits of spiritual increase, it may be 
expedient briefly only to consider the intermediate 
stages of the abyssal regeneration and contest of the 
Metaphysical Embryo before it is born into the eaite ^P~<ui 
ception ^ the eye of sense. Entering in for the 
dissolution, adepts describe it indeed as the greatest 
poison — a most potent, destroying, wilful ens of fire ; 
for the contrary will of the whole dissolving life is 
loosened by it, which acuates it exceedingly, the one 
being natural and the other a fire against Nature ; 
conjoining together, they make a conflagration more 
fiercely consuming than any elemental flame ; and 
being of equal origin, they prey upon each other 
incombustibly, and by so much the more increasing as 

1 Theat. Chem. Tom. iii. p. 764. Processus Chimica, Carmen 
Elegans, v. x. and xi., Yaughan's Magia Adamica. 

2 See his Theoria et Practica, and in the Testament, where lie 
writes. Si cum igne magno operatus fueris proprietas nostri spi- 
ritus, (S:c. ; and again, Ubi artista regidam singulavi diligentia ob- 
servare debet, &c. Sal Lumen ; Nuysement, p. 133, &c. 

u 2" 

292 Laws and Conditions. 

they draw together in might. And as the fable fur- 
ther relates of the Egyptian monarch, that his hair 
was suffered to grow whilst yet he tarried in Ethio])ia ; 
so this fire is suffered to grow profusely, shooting 
forth all his Satanic radiance in personality and act, 
until the time of his mortification is ripe and ready 
at hand. Adepts call him the Green Lion, Ty- 
phon. Fire-drake ; or, during the mortification, he 
is their venomous Black Toad ; for the newly roused 
Efficient is exceeding wrathful, as we before hinted, 
reducing the foreign body of Light, which is 
Osiris, to a mere vapour, called by philosophers, on 
account of its origin, the Four Wi}/ds, which, con- 
densing together at the top of the vessel in form 
of drops, runs down continually, day and night, with- 
out ceasing.^ So Sendivogius, in that witty dis- 
course of his, relates that Sal and Sulphur, meeting 
together at a certain fountain, began to fight, and Sal 
gave Sulphur a mortal wound, out of which wound, 
instead of blood, came forth, as it were, most white 
milk, and it became to be a great river. ^ 

For first the sun iu hys uprysing obscurate 
Shall be, and passe the waters of Noa's flude, 
On erth whych were a hundred days contiuuate 
And fifty, away or all thys waters yode, 
Rvght so on our waters, as wise men understode, 
1 Shall pass : that thou, wyth David, may say 

-//? ^yyy-Ci/)''^ / Abierunt in sicco flumin», &c.'^ 

This is commonly called the Gate of Putrefaction, and 
its entrance is described as dark, with Cimmerian 
windings, and continual terrification of the Spirit ; 
but the cause of the dissolution appears to proceed 
from the action of the vital heat stirred up artificially 
within the blood, and which being so continuously tri- 
turated, ignites and opens for itself a passage, endea- 
vouring forthwith to absorb the circulating light by the 

1 See Eipley, Second Gate, Of Solution, and in liipley Revived. 

- N"ew Light of Alch. ; Discourse of Sulphur. 

'^ Kipley's Fifth Gate, Of the Piitrofaction, v. 12. 

Experimental Method. 293 

efflux of its own abundant chloric spirit being trans- 
fixed. And all this while it is that the powers of 
the Philosophic Heaven are so wonderfully shaken and 
defiled ; for, as the French adept phrases it, The two 
dragons do bite one another very cruelly, and never 
leave off from the time they have seized one another, 
till by their slavering venom and mortal hurts they 
are turned into a gory blood, and then, being decocted 
totally in their own venom, are turned into a Fifth 

To Saturn, Mars w ith bond of love is tied, 
Who is by him devoured of mighty force, 
Whose spirit Saturn's body doth divide, 
And both combining yield a Secret Source 
From whence doth flow a Water wondrous bright, 
In which the Sun doth set and lose his light. ^ 

There is a profound mystery couched in these light 
words ; for as there was darkness upon the Abyss 
when the Divine Spirit moved upon the Waters' face, 
so in the hyperphysical work is it seen to be, when 
the swifter current of the Infernal motive wheel sur- 
mounts and eclipses the Divine Light in the circula- 
tion. And, moreover, there is the tempter Evil of / . /_ 
the Son of Man made manifest, and^all^ reality the t>>^ / ds 
original Sin with a more appalling possibility, to / 
be met only by voluntary sacrifice and humiliation of 
the Selfhood under the exemplary cross of Christ. 
For is it not written, He shall overflow the channels, 
and go over all the bmiks : and he shall pass through 
Jiidali ; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach 
even to the neck ; and the stretching out of his wings 
shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Emanuel ?^ 

There is, say the Alchemists, nothing of an unclean 
nature that enters into the composition of the Stone, 
except One thing, which is the Instrument moving 
the gold to putrefy , and in this respect (for it is 

^ Eireu^us, Marrow of Alchemy, book iii. v. 35. 
^ Isaiah, chap. viii. ver. 8. See also the book of Jehior of the 
Fire and its Mystery, chap. xi. 

294 Laws and Conditions. 

the very grave of the rational light) it is called by 
them Typhon, Satan, Aquafoetida, Ignis Gehennae, 
Mortis Immundities, &c. And because the philoso- 
phers are obscure concerning this principle, lest 
the rational inquirer should be led into troublesome 
error by their sophistication, we are induced to dwell 
rather and explain at length that, though impure in the 
beginning, and manifestly evil, it is nevertheless a neces- 
saiy ingredient, and when finally brought through the 
natural Alembic, and returned, it constitutes the force 
and integral perfection of the Divine Superstructure. 
And although Sulphur and Mercury, says the Adept, 
should be already described and known, yet without 
Salt no man can attain to this Sacred Science.^ Hermes, 
alluding to the same, says — The Dragon dwells in all 
the threefold nature, and his houses are the darkness 
and blackness that is in them ; and while this fume 
remains they are not immortal. But take away the 
cloud fi'om the water, the blackness from the sulphur, 
and deatb from the feeces, and by dissolution thou 
shalt obtain a triumphant gift, even that in and by 
which the possessors live.^ And although Hermes 
does not speak of it openly, because the root of this 
Science is a deadly poison, yet I protest to you, says 
Maria laconically, that when this poison is resolved 
into a subtle water, it coagulates our Mercury into 
most pure silver to all tests. ^ But whilst it remains 
in the natural state, in the evil of its original concep- 
tion, no good can come until it is overtaken and 

Then lyke as sowles after paynes of purgatory 
Be brought into Paradyce, where ys joyful lyfe, 
So sliall our stone after hys darknes in purgatory 
Be purged, and joyned in elements without strj4e, 
Eejoicing in the beauty and whytenes of his wyfe, 
Arid pass fro' the darknes of purgatory to lyght 
Of Paradyce, in whytenes Elixir of great niyght. 

' Sendivogius, New Light ; Discourse of the Three Principles. 
2 Tractatus Aureus, cap. ii. 
' Maria, Practica, circa finem. 

Experimental Method. 295 

And like as yse to water dotli releut, 
Whereof congealed it was by violence of greate cold, 
When Phoebus yt smyteth wytli hys beams influent, 
Eyght so to water minerall reduced ys our gold, 
As wrytetb plainly Albert, Raymond and Arnolde, 

Wyth heat and moisture by Crafte occasionate 

Wyth congelation of the Spyrite.^ 

♦ 5j/ crafte occasionate , he says, because it is by the 
attractive grace of the connate spirit that the self- 
willed agent is finally seen to be subdued and betrayed 
to self-mortification, as it were, by a conscience mov- 
ing contrite in the Law of her Light : here, therefore, 
Sol being eclipsed, the Lunar Vulcan acts a principal 
part, as Isis in the Mysteries, where she is also called 
Athena, to express that self-motion and intelligence 
with which this Spirit is endowed. In like manner 
they give to Typhon, in this predicament, the name of 
Seth, Bebo, and like words, as Plutarch explains, im- 
porting a certain violent, forcible restraint, contra- 
riety, and subversion, all which Osiris, /. e. the Divine 
Light, suffers in passing through the voluntary axle 
in the regeneration ; but tempered by the benign 
offices of Isis, hcy^is likewise gradually enthralled, and /v 
the opposive principles are, througli her artful interces- 
sion, finally reconciled, and remain together, circulating 
with her in equilibriate accord. 

Canst thou draw out Leviathan with an hook 1 or 
his tongue with a cord which thou lettest downl 
Canst thou put an hook into his nose ? or bore his jaw 
through with a thorn 1 Will he make many supplica- 
tions unto thee? Will he speak soft words unto 
thee ? Will he make a covenant with thee ? Wilt 
thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play 
with him as with a bird 1 Wilt thou bind him for thy 
maidens? Shall the companions make a banquet of 
him ? Shall they part him among the merchants ? 
Canst thou fill his skiji with barbed hooks, and his 
head with fish spears? Lay 'thy Hand upon him, 


1 Ripley's Fifth Gate, Of the Putrefaction. 

296 Laws and Conditions. 

the hope of him is in vain. Yet shall not one be cast 
down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce 
that dare stir him up : who then is able to stand 
before me ? Who hath prevented me, that I should 
I'tpay him? Whatsoever is made uudei^ the ivhole 
heaven is mine. I will not conceal his parts nor his 
comely proportion. Who can discover the face of his 
garment^ or w^ho can come to him with his double 
bridle ? Who can open the doors of his face, his 
teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his 
pride, shut up together as with a close seal. One is so 
near to another, that no air can come between them. 
They are joined one to another, they stick together, 
that they cannot be sundered. By his neesings a light 
doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the 
morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and 
sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth 
smoke, as out of a seething pot or cauldron. His breath 
kindleth coals, and ^ flame goeth out of his mouth. In 
his 7ieck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into 
joy before him. The fakes of his flesh are frm in 
themselves ; they cannot be moved. His heart is as 
firm as a stone ; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether 
millstone. When he r onset h up himself, the mighty 
are afraid: by reason of the breakings they purify 
themselves.^ The sword of him that layeth at hi/n 
cannot hold : the spear, the da7^t, nor the habergeon. 
He esteemeth iro?i as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 
The arroiv cannot make him flee, sling stones are 
turned with him into stubble. Darts are counted as 
stubble : he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. Sharp 
stones are under him : he spreadeth sharp pointed 
things upon the ??ii?r. He maketh the deep to boil 
like a pot : he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 
He maketh a path to shuie after him ; one would 
think the deep to be hoary. Upon earth there is not 
his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all 

1 See ]Maieri Atalauta Fugieiis, Emblema xi. Dealbate Lato- 
natn et rumpitp libros, A p. 



Experimental Method. 297 

high things: he is a king over all the children of 

Much might be added, and innumerable similitudes y_ 
belongin^to this rebellious Principle and^that identical ^y ^ 
representative of him which the Divine Art requires, 
in order that his stolen forces may be drawn forth 
and spent in the sanguinary conflict which he provokes 
in life. Just as in the Egyptian rehcs he is so fre- 
quently seen depicted with all the emblems of grace 
and power in human semblance, fiercely seated between 
his circumventing foes. For the Orient Animal must 
be stripped of his skin, not with arrows or clubs, but 
with the Hand, as Adepts say ; the whole garment of 
Light must be dissected, shorn, and the signal of victory 
be heroically transferred. Animal de oriente pelle sua ^ 

leonina spoliari debet ejusque^evanescere atque turn a oiJ^(^ 
simul ingredi magnum oceani sc^mnjcumque pulchr^ — 7^/ 
tudine iterum egredi, &c.^ But we must proceed; ' ' 
giving only, by way of recreation, this Philalethean Lion 
Hunt from Maiden in part, and the Cosmopolite Eire- 

All hail to the noble compaBie 

Of students in lioli Alkimie ; 

AVliose noble practise doth them teach 

To veil their art wyth mysty speech : 

Moiight yt please your -svorshipfulnes, 

To hear my idle soothfastnes, 

Of that stronge practise I have seene 

In hunting of the Lyon Greene, 

"Whose color doubtless ys not soe 

As that your wisdom well doe know ; 

For no man lives that ere hath seene 

Upon foure feet a lyon greene. 

But our lyon wanting maturitie, 

Is called greene for his unripenes trust me ; 

And yet fuU quickly he can run 

And soon can overtake the Sun ; 

And suddenly can hym devoure 

If they be both shut in one towere 

And hym eclipse that was so brighte 

And make thys red to turn to white 

1 Job, chap. xli. 

' Maieri Hierog. Egypt. Grsec. p. 222. 

298 Laws and Conditions. 

By virtue of his crudytie. 

And unripe humors whych in hym be ; 

And yet within hym he hath such heate 

That wlien lie hath tlie Sun upeate, 

He bringetli liyni to more pei't'ection 

Than ere he had by Nature's only sanction. 

Who then so'ere would win eternal fame 
Must learn this Lyon Greene to tame. 
But this before by Art he can attain 
To study hym to know, he must be fain. 
Nor ys it, trust me, for a stupid fule, 
Nor yet for one brought up in vulgar schule : 
I shall hym therefore lively out pourtray, 
Least from thys banquet you go leane awav. 
AYith mind attentive, to my words give heed, 
Least you instead of meat on fancies feed : 
This horrid beast, which we our Lyon call, 
Hath many names, that uoe man shall 
The truth perceive, unless that God direct 
And on his darkened minde a Light reflect. 
'Tis not because this subject doth consist 
Of animal components (he that list 
May well conceive) that we do therefore use 
The name of beasts ; nor is it to abuse 
The readers ; he whocA^er soe doth think, 
"With stupid sots himself doth thereby link. 
But it's because of the transcendant force 
It hath ; and for the rawness of its source, 
Of whych the lyke is nowhere to be seene, 
That yt of us is named the Lyon Greene. 

Now listen, and I shall to you disclose 
The secret, whych tymes past hath, like a rose. 
Been hedged so in on every side with briars. 
That few could pluck yt at their heart's desires. 
There is a substance of metalline race, 
If you the matter view, whose louring face 
A sophister would at first sight so scare, 
That he yt to approach would never dare ; 
The form that's visible is very vi\e, 
And doth metallyne bodies so defile. 
That none to see yt, could be brought to think 
That thence shoidd spring bright Pha'bus' pearly druik ; 
And yet, O strange ! a wonder to relate. 
At this same spring naked Diana sat, 
Who horned Acta'on for hys venturous peeping. 
This spring two dreadful beasts have in their keeping 
Whych drive away rash searchers to their woe, 
Them to enchant, the Art who do not know. 
Yet further, for to answer your desire, 
1 say, this subject never felt the fire 

Experimental Method. 299 

Of sulphur metalline, but ys more crude 

Than any minerall, which doth elude 

The unwary, and in fire fugitive 

'Tis found; th' impure away the pure doth drive, 

And its components are a Mercury 

Most pure, tho' tender, Avith a Sulphur dry 

Incarcerate, which doth the flux retaine. 

And as in shackles doth the same detaine. 

This Sulphur with malignant qualities 

Doth so the Mercury infect whych with yt lies,' 

That tho' they have no fundamtsntal union, 

Yet hereby is debarred the sweete communion, 

Wliych otherwise would surely intercede 

Between thys virgin nymph, which we call Leade, 

And her dear sister, whych in silver streams 

Euns down abundantly ; then should the beams 

Of bright Apollo course the dews whych fall 

From these commixed waters, from the tall 

Aspiring mountain, gliding thro' the vales, 

Fire to conceive of Nature, whych avails 

To warm the bath for Sol, in whych he may 

Descend and wash, and wj^th fair Phoebe play. 

Till flesh and youth renewing, they be able 

To shine wyth glory, aye multiplicable. 

Know then this Subject, whych the base 

Of all our secret ys, and it uncase ; 

And choose what thou shalt finde of meanest price : 

Leave sophisters, and following my advice. 

Be not deluded ; for the truth is one, 

'Tis not in many things, this is Our Stone : 

At fii"st appearing in a garb defiled, 

And, to deal plainly, it is Saturn's childe. 

His price is meane, his venom very great 

His constitution cold, devoid of heat. 

Altho' 'tis mixed with a sulphur, yet 

This sulphur is combustible ; to get 

Another Sulphur metalline and pure. 

And mix with the Mercurial parts be sure ; 

This Sulphur in the house of Aries seek, 

There shall you find it ; this will be the G-reek 

Alcides, who with Jason journey took 

To Colchos ; this it is whych never book 

As yet revealed ; and yet I will proceede, 

And greater mysteries unfold with speede. 

Our Subject, it is no ways malleable. 

It is metalline and its color sable, 

"With intermixed argent, whych in veins 

The sable field with glittering branches stains ; 

The pure parts from the impure thou shalt never 

With fire or common water here di.ssever, 

300 Laws and Conditions. 

Nor with the hardest iron dig it thence, 

For steel, 'gainst this aftbrdeth no defence ; 

So easily as any little boy 

A giant can suppress, this can destroy 

Alcides' breastplate, with his target stout, 

And put opposing armies to the rout 

Of swords and spears, O wondrous force ! and yet 

The sages this have seen, when they did sit 

In council, how this fiu'y they might tame, 

Which (as unparalled) they then did name 

Their Lyon Greene ; they suffered him to prey 

On Cadmus Sociates ; and when the fray 

Was over, they with Dian's charms hym tyed, 

And made hym under waters to abide. 

And washed hym cleane, and after gave hym icings, 

To fly, much like a dragon, whose sharp springs 

Of Fiery Water, th' only way iv as found 

To cause Apollo his harp strings to sound. 

This is the true npnphs' bath which we did search and try, 

And proved to be the wise men's Mercury. 

The evil of the Original Sin being overcome by so 
many subtle stratagems, the New Life thence arises, 
whose quintessential vu'tue, imperishable and perpe- 
tually victorious, is the Corner Stone or first Material 
foundation of the Hermetic Art : known, as the 
adept says, only to the AVise, because they alone can 
know it who have it in themselves. The irrational 
and frivolous-minded cannot receive this truth, because 
it depends exactly upon the knowledge of 7'^iat which 
is most abstruse in them. The example given of 
Cadmus, from the Greek fable, identifies him with 
Jason, Orpheus, ^neas, and the rest, who represent 
the Rational Ferment ; the associates are taken to sig- 
nif}^ the other faculties of the mind originally at- 
tendant on this, but which are drawn away afterwards 
into the vortex of the Opposive Principle, rapidly 
attracting them when it is freed, and, revelling with 
which, it becomes satiated and more easily ensnared. 
As it is told of Saturn, hkewise, that he was inebri- 
ated when he was bound in fetters by his son ; and by 
the advice of the goddess, too, according to Orpheus, 
the subtle stratagem was contrived. 

Experimental Method. 301 

When stretched beneath the lofty oaks yon view 
Satnm, with honey of the bees produced, 
Sunk in ebriety ; fast bind the god. 

For the Saturnian Will, being allowed to revel, 
without limitation or rational restraint, throughout 
the subordinate faculties, becomes intoxicated ; his 
desires are more than satisfied, and, as the image runs, 
from the effect he sleeps. It is then the watchful eye 
of Intellect, well advised and able, prepares to cut him 
off, and drawing forth all his brazen strength, plants it 
in the newly-furrowed soil, whence springs another 
armament, which, still rebellious, contending with 
each other for the self-same Stone, are by it once more 
annihilated and again raised up. So the Bath of 
Diana is prepared out of the blood of many battles, 
where the innocents suffer for the guilty, and many 
barbarous images befall, until the Identical Spirit arises, 
pure, bright, and contrite, from its primaeval element, 
and free in legal subordination only to its own 
perfect Law. 

The matter first of metals Mercury 
A moisture is which wetteth not the hand 
Tet flows, and therefore is named water dry, 
The vulgar is at every one's command. 

But this is not the water we desire, 

For in our water is our secret fire. 

This Matter while its life it did retain, 

Was apt all metals e'en to procreate, 

The life when gone, then dead it doth remain 

Till a new soul shall it reanimate. 

This Matter is to metals all of kin 
All which do hide a Mercury within. 

He then who knows the parts of Mercury 

And can its superfluities decrease, 

And with true Sulphur it can vivify ; 

For dead it is, though fluent, he with ease 
May gold unlock and after recongeal 
Both to an Essence which all griefs can heal. 

Lo ! here a spring of wealth, a Tree of Life, 
No wealth so great, no sickness here is rife, 
Here in a map, thou seest the creatures all 
Abridged, and reduced to their perfection. 
Here thou beholdest in a Subject Small, 
From this world's misery a fiill protection. 

302 Laws and Conditions. 

O Mercury, tliou wonder of the world ! 

How strange thy nature; is and how compact ! 

A body dost possess which doth enfold 

A Spirit inexpressible to act, 

Our mysteries ; this only we desire, 
This is our water, this our secret fire. 

For Argent Vive is gold essential 
Only unripe, which, if thou canst prepare 
By art, it gives the secret menstrual: 
The mother of our Stone which is so rare. 

Our oil, our unguent, and our marchasile; 

Which we do name also our fountain bright. 

O crystal fountain ! which with fourfold spring 
Euns down the valleys with its pearly drops 
DistiDing, with the which our noble king 
Is washed and carried to the mountain tops. 

Where he the virtue of the Heavens receives, 
WTiich never after him, when fixed, leaves. 

This is our May-dew which our earth doth move 
To bring forth fruit, wdiich fruit is perfect gold : 
This is our Eve, whom Adam doth so love. 
That in her arms his soul, strange to be told, 
He doth receive, who erst as dead was seen, 
And quickened first appears in colours green. 

How this ? Even thu-s, in Saturn there is hid 

A soul immortal which in prison lies, 

Untie its fetters, which do it forbid 

To sight for to appeal", then shall arise 
A Vapour shining, like pearl oi'ient, 
Which is our Moon and sparkling Firmament.^ 

By such a vital and mysterious process is the 
First Matter of the adepts said to be generated and 
produced by an emancipation of the Fontal Source ; 
and this is Diana, and that refulgent Light which 
eclipses every other hght but that of its proper 
Reason, and strikes the irrational intruder blind. 
For she is the wholeness of the Fundamental Na- 
ture at once personified, the knot and link of all 
the elements of being, inferior as well as superior, 
which she contains within herself — A Light more 
splendid than the Sun and gold, and more beautiful 
than the Moon or silver, and more diaphanous than 

' Eiren^us, Marrow of Alchemv. 
' / 

Experimental Method. 303 

the purest chrystal ; inasmuch transcendant, says the 
acute Helv-etius/ that that most recreant Beauty can 
never be blotted out from my mind, though it should 
be rejected by all, and disbelieved by fools and the 
illiterate. For though our Art is unknown, we do 
assert, according to experience, that this mystery is to 
be found ; but only with the great Jehovah saturninely 
placed in the centre of the world. There, within most 
intimately, the Abyss of the Spagiric artifice is dis- / 
closed ; there, as in a crystalline diaphan|ty, the / ^-'*-^, 
Miracle of the whole world. There, in that region, ' 
no longer fabulous but by art made natural, is seen 
the Salamander casting out the etherial waters, and 
washing himself in the flames ; there the river Numi- 
tius, in which iEneas, bathing, was absolved from his 
mortality, and by command of Venus was transformed 
into an immortal god. There, also, is Eridanus and 
that Lydian river Pactolus transmuted into gold as 
soon as Mygdonian Midas had washed himself in the 
same. Also, as in a beautifully pictured series, there 
is displayed every mythological antique device ; Apollo 
and the Muses, and Parnassus and the Fountain struck 
from Pegasus, and the fountain of Narcissus, even 
Scylla washing in the flood, beneath the fervent rays 
of the meridian sunbeams ; there, too, the blood of 
Pyramis and Thisbe, which turned the white mulber- 
ries to a deeper die. The blood of Adonis transformed 
by Venus into an anemone rose ; that blood, too, of 
mighty Ajax, out of which sprang the fairest hya- 
cynthine flower. There also are the drops of water 
decocted by Medea, out of which such a verdure 
sprang up suddenly to cover the bleached earth ; and 
that potion which the enchantress boiled out of so 
many herbs gathered three days before the full moon, 
for the heahng of Jason, when that hero had grown 
infirm. The gardens of the Hesperides, also, are in 
Elysium ; and here Hippomanes runs the race with 
Atalanta, and vanquishes by stratagem of the golden 
fruit. Here, too, magnanimous Hercules, having 
^ Yituliis Aureus. 

304 Laws and Conditions. 

burnt all his maternal body upon a pile of wood, 
revives entire and incombustible, as the Phoenix on 
her pyre, and is changed into the Hkeness of an im- 
mortal god. 

Such are a very few of the games and choice spec- 
tacles which tradition commemorates as instituted by 
Wisdom, for the benefit of souls emerging from Lethe 
and Egyptian darkness to the glorious liberty of the 
^ Freed Will in life. And it is that kindling of Divine 

Cltl^ Its Ecstacy , in connection wi fliitft Source, that attracts the 
whole phenomenon of nature to its desire, and works 
the total miracle of the Hermetic Art in life, exalts 
Mind by the understanding of Causes, and confirms it. 
But in the summary language of the Greek saint (since 
here it becomes us not to assert) : Know, says Sy- 
nesius, that the Quintessence and hidden thing of our 
Stone is nothing else than our viscous celestial and 
glorious soul, drawn by our magistery out of its mine, 
which engenders itself and brings itself forth, and that 
Water is the most sharp vinegar, which makes gold to 
be a pure spirit — nay, it is that Blessed Nature which 
engenders all things ; but, by usurpation, in each par- 
ticular universally and without return. 

These plain words, supporting the evidence which 
has gone before, will leave less doubt, if we yield them 
credence, with respect to the method and true basis of 
the Hermetic experiment ; reason, aided by a perspi- 
cuous imagination, will attain readily to the idea, and 
research may further assist the faithful to confirm it. 
We cannot, however, quit a subject, the preliminaries 
of which are so important to establish, without advert- 
K, ing to certain (Jlabalistic and other Greek concordances, 
~ in^hope that their separate witness may tell favourably 

/ in OQticlusiorrTte this Material of Mind. 
/ A 



A further Analysis of the Initial Principle, and its 
Eduction into Light. 

Dens, cum solus fuisset iu pi-incipio, creavit uiiam substantiam ; 
lianc primam materiam. nominamus. — Mylius Phil. Reform, pars 
vi. lib. 1. V / / / 

THE philosophy of the J C aba l, as dehvered in the 
only genuine Hebrew remains and their commen- 
taries, is eminently comprehensive and sublime ; and 
these characteristics are mainly dependent on its very 
great simplicity. All things therein are psychically 
derived : and, according to the doctrine of an essen- 
tial emanation, the whole physical universe is ex- 
tended and corporified, as it were, by a multiplication 
of the indeficient unit into its parts, under the intel- 
ligible Law of its own proceeding Light. Into the 
method of this philosophy, or the many beautiful par- 
ticulars arising out of its material, space does not allow 
us to enter ; they who are desirous may conveniently 
examine for themselves, either in the Latin editions of 
Rosenroth ;' or to begin with Franck's very excellent / n ^ 

history of the Cabal , which contains, besides numer- ku;vO~G{X£iJ(^ 
ous translated passages from the Hebrew, commen- 
taries and notes, that we have read with no less in- 
struction than dehght.^ 

The Initial Principle, however, which we have been 
discussing, and to which it will be necessary to confine 
inquiry for the present, is in the Zohar designated by 
the name of Wisdom, or the Supreme Crown ; that is 
to say, after it has become into manifest Being ; but 

^ Kabbala Deuudata, seu Doctrina Hebraeorum Transcenden- 
talis et Liber Zohar Eestitutus. Francf. 1684. 

2 ];a Kabbale, ou Philosopliie Eeligieuse des Hebreux, par Ad. 
-Franck. Paris, 1843. 

306 Laws and Conditions. 

in the Beginning, for reasons metaphysically expUeable, 
the divine hypostasis is distinguished by the epithet of 
Unknown, and described according to its negative ab- 
soluteness, in the sum of two or three paragraphs, as 
follows : — 

All things before they became manifested were con- 
cealed in the unknown and incomprehensible Infinite, 
and this subsistence, whence all proceeded, was but as 
an interrogation, an imperceptible sufficience, having 
neither mind, nor figure, nor self-comprehension, or 
Being, properly so called ; but when the Unknown 
would manifest himself, he begins by producing a 
point ; but, whilst the point of Light remains within 
subjective and inseparate, he is unknown, and as the 
Unity of things to be developed only by the Separation 
of them in Himself: in this sense he is called the 
Ancient of Days, the White Head, the Old Man^by 
excellence, the Mystery of Mysteries, Which is before 
all things — whose emanation is All.^ And thus the 
hypostatic vision is more prominently delineated. He 
is, says the Rabbi Ben Jochai, speaking of the same, 
the Mystery of Mysteries, and most unknown of the 
unknown ; yet he has a form or idiom which belongs 
to him ; but, under this form by which he is seen, he 
remains still unknoicn. His clothing is white, and his 
aspect that of a countenance unveiled. . . . From his 
head he shakes a dew which awakens the dead, and 
brings them to new life ; wherefore, it is written. Thy 
dew is the dew of light. It is this which nourishes the 
most exalted saints, the manna which descends into 
the field of sacred fruits ; the aspect of this dew is 
white, as the diamond is white, the colour which con- 
tains all.^ 

This white appearance of the primaeval splendour in 
the abyss, is very constantly notified ; thus we read in 
the Apocalypse, of the White Stone with the new 
name written upon it ; and in the vision of the Son of 

^ Zohar, part i. Franck's Translatiou, pp. 175, 185, 
^ Zohar, part iii. fol. 12, 8 recto in Franck. p. 170. 


Further Analysis. 307 

Man, of the snowy whiteness of his glory, whose hair 
was hke wool, and white as snow.^ And I beheld, 
says the prophet in Enoch, the Ancient of Days, 
whose head was like wool, &c.^ But these, and all 
such like revelations will be esteemed fanciful or figu- 
rative, perhaps, or arbitrary, since they are not com- 
monly conceivable, and the worldly mind is shut out 
from the imagination even of occult truth. They 
only who have entered experimentally within to know 
themselves, have been satisfactorily able to recognise 
the ground ; and they only who are gifted with an ap- 
proximating faith, to discriminate their universal testi- 
mony from amongst so many fanatical delusions, will 
be inclined, or able either, to advance to the contem- 
plation of their proofs. 

But to continue. As all colours in their prismatic 
unison are white, just so is the Universal Nature, de- 
scribed as appearing in the evolution of her Fontal 
Light ; and Paracelsus gives it as a reason, that there 
should be a simple ground of all diversity without 
confusion whereon to recreate : — Omnia in Dei manu 
alba sunt is ea tingit ut vult : — all things in the hand 
of God are white, says the Magian, ^at He mes^ co- 
loursthem according to His pleasure. Agreeably, the 
author of the Liicerna Sails writes : — The matter will 
become white like a hoary man, whose aged com- 
plexion resembles ice ; it will also whiten more after- 
wards, like silver. Govern your fire with a great deal 
of care, and afterwards you shall see that hi your 
vessel your matter will become white as snow. Then 
is your elixir perfect as to the w^hite work. — This 
agrees with the descriptions of Arnold, Lully, kxto^^uu^s 
^M&, and the rest cited in the Theory, which, in the 
original verse, runs thus : — 

Acquiret canitiem viri senis, 
Albicabitque fere ut argentum, 
Sumin^ diligentia ignem rege 

^ Eevelation of St. John, chap. i. v 14 ; ehap. ii. v. 17. 
2 Book of Enooh, chap. xlvi. v. 1, &c. 

X 2 

308 Laws and Conditions. 

/-€y Videbisque sequentj/fr materiain in vitro 

' Albere omnino candore nivali 

Et turn confectum est elixir ad album.' 

The same Sendivogius, in his Ntw Light, calls the 
Water of our Sea, the Water of Life, not wetting the 
hands ; and believe me, he says, for T saw it with my 
eyes, and felt it — that water was as white as snow.'^ 
And Eireneus, but we will not enlarge ; for is not 
this the Matter already defined so often by the old 
Alchemists, saying, it is no common water, but an 
unctuous mineral vapour, universally subsisting ? Bo- 
dies therefore, say they, are to be turned into such a 
vapour, and this vapour is the Stone known and proven 
in the Book of Life — Sumatur lapis in capitulis notus; — 
Such is the subtle phrase of the Arabian ; and this 
is the Matter every where alluded to, and so often 
denoted in the Mysteries ; which in demoniacal 
forms is at first in vision made apparent, nor 
known until the eye of mind, regardant and pu- 
rifying, meets its First source. For are we not all 
verily, " such stufl' as dreams are made of? " Yet 
the discovery of it is no dream, if we may believe the 
experienced ; but, on the contrary, every phantastic 
desire and imagination is alienated and merged in in- 
telle 'tual contact of the Thing itself, which is our 
Identity. This is the true Hermetic material, which is 
celebrated by all his disciples ; that recommended by 
Orpheus to be taken in the cave of Mercury, and car- 
ried in both hands away ; and this is the power borne 
by the Centaur Cheiron, the monster tutor of heroes, 
cloud-begotten, sprung from out of the nebulous 
impure ether, with a duplicate force, as it were, of a 
Magnet armed to magnify and energize and prepare 
the way, being the substance real, and promise of a 
more perfect life to come. The same in Silenus is sa- 
tirically personified the most venerable preceptor of 
the God of Wine ; and this is Pan, and the foundation 
of the great Saturnian Monarchy of the Freed Will, 

' Lucenia Salis, p. 158. 12mo. 
2 Philosophical Parable. 

Further Analysis. 309 

which was once circumscribed in Intellect, for the 
manifestation of its Light. 

This same, the Arabians call Flos Sails Alhi — the 
Flower of White Salt, and thus the substant hypos- 
tasis is said very truly to be designated ; and this is 
the white sand, Qutilem, which Van Helmont speaks 
of as manifesting itself forth in a vivid vital soil, which 
spade or mattock never pierced.^ This is the true 
magic earth wherein is the recreative fire, even that 
" Land of Havilah, where good gold is ; " and this fire 
binds the parts thereof spontaneously to himself, co- 
agulates them, and stops their flux ; and this Salt is the 
Water that wets not the hands ; and that identical Mag- 
nesia that was exhibited in the Mysteries ; the White 
Island of Vishnu ; the Lord of Radha ; the White 
Paradise, which the author of the Round Toioers, with 
an exclusiveness, pardonable for its enthusiasm, mis- 
took for his Emerald Home.^ 

The Platonists have declared true Being to be white, 
and all that Plato says, in FhcedOy about Tartarus is, 
according to Olympiodorus, to be understood ethically 
and physically : ethically, in that Tartarus is the place 
of the soul's trial, where the balance of existence 
is struck, and imperfections are made manifest ; phy- 
sically, in that it is the luhoieness of txisteuce. And 
what is written about rivers and seas by Plato, which 
is ridiculous in an external sense, is to be psychically 
understood, as when he says that the taste and colour 
of these waters is according to the quality of the earth 
through which it flows : this also indicates, adds our 
exponent, that souls, in which reason does not preside 
as a charioteer, are changed according to the subject 
temperament of the body ; but when reason has the 
dominion, the soul does not yield, but, contrariwise, 
assimilates herself to the Supreme virtue.^ And her 
first motion towards this from her ultimate artificial 

' Oreatrike, cliap. ix. 

2 See the Eound Towers of Ii-eland ; au estimable work, by li. 
O'Brien, chap. xxii. p. 327. 
^ See Taylor's Dissertation on Aristotle, book ii. p, 319. 



310 Laws and Conditions, 

recessure is the true origin of matter, according to 
these philosophers, and the primary cause of all, when 
the generative virtue is drawn up into intellectual 
alliance with the medial life and light. 

In the third book of Reuchlin, De Arte Cabalistica, 
we read, Nihil est in j)rincipio nisi Sapientia. — No- 
thing is in the beginning but Wisdom, or Sapience. — It 
is this which we are accustomed to call the Three 
Persons in Divinity, the which is an Absolute Essetice, 
wliieh , whilst it is retracted in the Abyss of darkness, 
and rests still and quiet, or, as they say, having re- 
spect to nothing, is for this cause termed by the 
Hebrews, Ain, i. e to say. Nihil quoad }ius; nothing or 
no entity as respects us. Because we, being affected 
with inability in the conception, do judge and 
imagine of those things which do not appear imme- 
diately as if they were not at all. But when it has 
showed itself forth to be somewhat indeed, and that it 
does really in the human apprehension exist, then, 
continues the (Jfabalist, is dark Aleph converted into 
light Alcpli ; as it is written, The night shineth as the 
day, the darkness and the light are all alike to Him ; 
— Tenebrae sunt ei sicut ipsa lux. 

Si tu, Deus meus, illuiniuaveris nie 
Lux liuut teuebra^ mese. 

So Paradise was opened in the Seer, and by that 
kindling of Divine enthusiasm in conjunction with its 
source, the soft lenient Light was created, which he 
celebrates, and whence all things are said to emerge, 
and whither they return ; but without our cognizance, 
who arc chained to these exterior surfaces, content 
with the bare tradition of a life to come. But in 
that Place, whither he was snatched up, the prophet 
describes them, and what he beheld of the Radical 
Essence, and the manifold glories of that mystical 
Adamic Soil. And this I beheld, says he, the secret 
of Heaven and of Paradise according to its divisions, 
and there my eyes beheld the secrets of the thunder 

Further Analysis. 311 

and lightning, and the secrets of the winds, how they 
are distributed as they blow over the earth. The 
secret of the winds and of the clouds ; there I per- 
ceived the place whence they issue forth, and I became 
saturated with the dust of the earth. There I saw the 
woodtn receptacles (the vegetable or medial life), out of 
which the winds became separated, and the receptacles 
of the snow, and the cloud itself which continued over 
the earth before the creation of the world} 

This nebulous apparition of the Catholic Embryo , 

before its birth, some modern dJabalists have ex- /C 
plained to be an absolute concentration of Divinity ^^"^ 
within its proper substance, i. e. of subject and object, 
in their original identity ; which, as a cloud before the 
falling shower, gives birth to the primitive Ether, 
which is the pure attracting vacuum, or understanding 
whereby the central efficient is drawn forth to will and 
operation. Dionysius styles it caligo divina, because, 
as he says, it is obscure and humanly incomprehen- 
sible, though visible indeed. The author of the Lumen yy 
de Lumine calls it, from the (pabalists, Tenebra: [y 
activce, and describes it as beneath all degrees of 
sense and imagination — a certain horrible, inexpressible 
chasm. ^ 

Non-being which nor mind can see 
Nor speech reveal ; since, as of Being void, 
'Tis not the object of the mental eye ; 
But there thy intellectual notions check 
When in this path exploring.^ 

For its End is infinite ; as the Oracle forewarns, — 
Stoop not down, for a precipice lies below in the earth ; 
— it is nothing as respects the consciousness before it is 
conceived ; nothing, as Dionysius adds, of those things 
that are, or of those that are not, in an empty destruc- 
tive sense ; but it i^ that only True Thing of which we 


1 Book of Enoch, chap. xlvi. and xli. 

2 Lumen de Lumine, the chapter on Matter, in init. 

2 From the Fragments of Parmenides, given at the end of Tay- 
lor's Dissertation on Aristotle. 


312 Laws and Conditions. 

^ can affirm nothing, whose tlieology is negative ; but <<rfU(y^ 

CzT>^oUCocLejS ifmhtu iu the perfect possession of m the most happy- 
life. Thus Bohme also declares — God, incomparably 
good and great, out of nothing created 6omethi?ig, and 
that something was made one thing in which all 
things were contained, both celestial and terrestrial. 
And this first something was a certain cloud or dark- 
ness, which was condensed into water ; and this water 
is that One Thing in which all things are contained.^ 

Now here we do not read either that all things 
came of nothing absolutely, but that God of nothing 
created something which was made that one thing in 
which are all. And this One Thing appears to be no- 
thing less or more than that Identity which is made in 

^ the regeneration by the reprocedure into experience out 

OJ\jiy}^ of the dissolute void of lif^artificially induced. As re- 
spects the creature, therefore, it may be considered as 
the first divine manifestation out of the abyss, when 
the Spirit is brought forth into a new circulatory con- 
fine, displaying its universal properties internally ac- 
cording to the magnetic, virtue, action, and passion 
of the Microcosmic Heaven. And there is in the Ce- 
lestial Light, continues the same author, a Substance 
like water which yet is no water, but such a spirit or 
property . but it burns more like a kindred oil, and is 
called by many the Tincture. And this Tincture is 
the source of the material world, and gives to all 
essences virtue to grow : it is also in all metals and 
stones ; it causes silver and gold to grow, and without 
it nothing could grow, but with it, all things: amongst 
all the children of nature it only is a virgin, and has 
never generated anything out of itself; neither can it 
generate, yet it makes all things that are to be impreg- 
nated : it is the most hidden thing, and also the most 
manifest ; it is the friend of God and playfellow of vir- 
tue ; it suffers itself to be detained of nothing and yet 
it is in all things ; but if anything be done against the 
right of nature, then it readily flies away : it con- 

' Generation of tlic Three Principles. 

Further Analysis. 313 

tinues in no kind of decaying of anything, but abides 
constantly with life. The way to it is very near, yet 
no language can express it : nevertheless it ?neet6- them 
that seek it a rig /it in its own way. It is powerful, yet 
of itself does nothing ; when it goes out of a thing it 
comes not into it again naturally, but it stays in its 
ether. It is not God, but it is God's friend; for it 
works not of itself It is in all things imperceptibly, 
and yet it may u-ell be overpowered and used, especially 
in metals : there it can of itself, being pure, make gold 
of iron and copper, and make a little grow to be a 
great deal. For it is the source of universal increase ; 
its way is as subtle as the thoughts of man, and his 
thoughts do even arise from thence. All things are 
thence arisen throughthe Divine bnagi nation, and doj^et 
stand in such a birth, station, and government. The 
four elements have likewise such a ground or original ; 
but the understanding and capacity is not in nature's 
own ability without the Light of God ; but it is very 
easy to be understood by those who are in the Light, to 
them it is easy and plain } — I have myself seen this 
knowledge, continues our author in another place, 
with those eyes wherein life generates in me, for the 
new man speculates into the midst of the astral birth 
or geniture, and thus, he adds, in explication the me- 
thod of his experience. — At last when, after much 
Christian seeking and desire, and suffering of much re- 
pulse, I resolved, he saj^s, rather to put my life to 
utmost hazard than to give over and leave off; the 
gate was opened to me, so that in one quarter of 
an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been 
many years at the University ; at which I did exceed- 
ingly admire, and knew not how it happened to me ; 
and, therefore, I turned my mind to praise God for it. 
For I saw and knew the Being of beings, the Bysse, or 
ground or original foundation ; and the Abysse, that is 
without ground, or fathomless or void ; also the birth 
or eternal generation of the Holy Trinity, the descent 

1 See Bohme's A\rorks, vol. i. p. 97, 41 fol. 


314 Laws and Conditions. 

and original of this world and of all creatures through 
the Divine Wisdom, and I knew and saw in myself all 
the Three Worlds : viz., tirst, the divine angelical, or 
paradisaical ; and then the dark world, being the ori- 
ginal of nature by the Fire ; and then thirdly, the 
etci - mi l and visible world, being a procreation or extern 
birth or, as it were, a substance expressed or spoken 
forth from the internal and spiritual worlds. And I 
saw and knew the whole Being, and luorking essence in 
the evil and in the good, and the mutual original and 
existence of each of them ; and likewise how the 
pregnant genetrix or fruitful bearing womb of eternity 
brought forth, so that I did not only greatly wonder at it, 
but did also exceedingly rejoice. Albeit, I could very 
hardly apprehend the same in my external man, and 
express it with my pen. I saw as in a great deep in 
the Internal ; for I had a thorough view of the uni- 
verse as in a chaos wherein all things are couched and 
wrapped up, but it was impossible then for me to ex- 
plain the same. Yet it opened itself in me from time 
to time, as a young plant, and came forth into the 
external principle of my mind. . . . And thus I have 
written not from instruction or knowledge received from 
men, nor from the study of books, but I have written 
out of my own book which was opened in me, being 
the noble similitude, the book of the most noble and 
precious Image of God : and therein I have studied as 
a child in the house of its mother, which beholdeth 
what the father doth. I have no need of other books, 
my book hath only three leaves, the same are the 
Principles of Eternity. Therein I can find all whatso- 
ever Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles 
have taught and spoken. I can find therein the 
foundation of the world and mysteries ; and yet not I 
but the Spirit of God doeth it according to the mea- 
sure as he pleaseth.^ 
y . // Here we have modern testimony agreeing in all par- 
fCcxlrtJCo^^ ticulars with the most ancient Gdbal and profound ex- 
perimental divinity ; nor this alone, but other favoured 

' See Bbhme's Works, Turned Eye, in vol. ii. 

Further Analysis. 315 

individuals, amongst whom Van Helmont relates, 
how by a mysterious hand he was led along into 
a perception of the simple element of nature. — And 
while I variously wandered that I might view the 
Tree of Life, says the physician, at length with- 
out the day and beyond the beginning of the night, I 
saw, as in a dream, the whole face of the earth even 
as it stood forsaken, and empty or void at the begin- 
ning of the creation ; then afterwards, how it was, 
while, as being fresh, it waxed on every side green with 
its plants ; again, also, as it lay hidden under the Jiood. 
For I saw all the species of plants to be kept under 
the waters: yet presently after the flood, that they 
did all enter into the way of interchanges enjoined to 
them, which was to be continued by their species and 
seeds, &c. For in the sky of our Archeeus, aspectual 
Ideas are deciphered as well from the depth of the 
starry heaven of the soul itself, as those formed by 
the erring or implanted spirit of the seven bowels.^ 

Here in this sphere those mighty wonders are. 
Which, as the sporting of the Deity, 
Themselves display ; wonders indeed they are 
Which do exceed man's comprehending far 
Here 'tis that God himself t' himself displays, 
From whence the sense arises up in joys, 
A thousand things for aye arise, 
Eternal waters and eternal skies. ^ 

Basil Valentine also, before proceeding to a descrip- 
tion of the Philosophic Matter, opens his discourse fe c-j^^ 
^BS effect as follows : — When at a certain time an 
abundance of thoughts, which my internal fervent 
prayer to God suggested, had set me loose and wholly 
free from terrene business, I purposed in myself to 
attend to those spiritual inspirations of which we have 
need for the more accu) ate scrutiny of nature. There- 
fore I resolved to make myself wings, that I might 
ascend on high and inspect the stars themselves, as 

^ Oreatrike, chap. Ix. and xcvi. 

2 Pordage, Mimdiim ' Explicatio, p. 320. 

316 Laws and Conditions. 

Icaras and his father Diiedalus did in times past. But 
when I soared too near the sun, my /cat// efs with its 
vehement heat were consumed, and I fell headlong into 
the depths of the sea. Yet to me, in this my extreme 
tiecessity, invoking God, help was sent from heaven 
which freed me from all peril and present destruction. 
For one hastened to my assistance who commanded 
the waters should be still ; and instantly in that deep 
abyss appeared a most high mountain upon which at 
length I ascended ; that I might examine whether, as 
men affirmed, there was indeed any friendship and 
familiarity between inferiors and 6«/;er/'or^^__ai4d-^^ie- 
ther the superior stars ^. e. Ideee Divin^'^ Mentis] have 
acquired strength and power from God, their Creator, 
to produce any one thing lihe to themselves on earth. 
And having searched into things, I found |}dz. in the 
metaphysico-chemical analysi^ that whatsoever the 
ancient masters had so many ages committed to writ- 
ing and delivered to their disciples, ivas true as truth 
itself. In very deed, that I may expound the matter 
in a few words, I found all things which are generated 
in the bowels of the mountains to be infused from the 
superior stars as light, and to take their beginning 
from them in the form of an aqueous cloud, fume, or 
vapour : \y\\\c\v, for a long time fed and nourished, is at 
length educted into a tangible form by the elements. 
Moreover this vapour is dried, that the icateriness may 
lose its dominion, and t\\Q Jire next by help of the air 
retain the ruling power — of water, fire ; and of fire, air 
and earth are produced ; which notwithstanding are 
found in all things consisting of body before the sepa- 
ration of them : but this water therefore containing all, 
which by the dryness of its fire and air is formed into 
earth, is thejirst matter of all things.' 

In this allegory the wdiole metaphysico-chemical an- 
alysis of the Universal Subject is displayed — the sepa- 
ration, introspection and reunion of the vital elements 
in their ethereal accord. And for this reason adepts 

' J^. Valentine, 8toue of Fire, in init. 

Further Analysis. 317 

have concluded this Identic Salt to be the true grain, 
since it cannot be annihilated, but survives the wreck of 
the whole dissolute Being throughout — the seed not 
only of this w^orld but of the next. For all things, 
whether organized or otherwise, decay and pass away 
into other elements ; but this mystical substance, this 
root of the world, returning immediately upon the 
dissolution of its parts, renews them ; nor will then be 
quiet, but Proteus-like runs from one complexion of 
light into another, from this colour to that, transmu- 
ting himself before the regardant eye into a strange 
variety of forms and appearances, exhibiting the uni- 
versal phenomenon of nature in recreant display as he 
runs forth from green to red and from red to black, 
receding thenceforth into a million of colours and 
transmigrating species. 

/ Verum, ubi correptum manibus, vinclisque tenebis ; 

'CSJ Turn vari^ illudent species, atque ora ferarimi -^ 
Fiet enim subito sus horridus, atraque tigris, 

Squamosusque draco, et fulva cerrice leana : .._ 

Aut acrem flammse sonitiim dabit, )(ftque ita vinclia 
Excidet, aut iu aquas teuues dilapsus abibit. / 

Sed quanto ille magis forinas se vertet in ournife, /^' 
Tanto, gnate, magis contende tenacia vincla.^ ' 

And when he has departed from the fi'agile laby- 
rinth through which he was dispersed, says the adept, 
and is moreover purified from every impurity, he 
raises himself likewise into an infinity of forms : one 
while into a vegetable, and then into a stone or into 
some strange animal ; now he transmutes himself into 
the sea, becoming to be a pearl, or a gem or a metal, 
beautifully shining with red flames, and irridescent with 
myriads of colours ; and thus he lives perpetually the 
worker of miracles, an indefatigable magian, by no 
means wearying in his labour but growing young ever- 
more and increasing daily in vigorous display and 
strength.^ And these miraculous alterations will not 

^ Georgicor. lib. iv. 405. 

2 Fama et Confessionis, K.C. Preface. Ubi vero spiritus ex- 
cessit, &c. 


318 Laws and Conditions. 

cease, as Democritus jtiktdtts, until the Matter has 
worked out its own restitution and is brought by Art 
into the supernatural fixity of its Final Cause ; and that 
mode of binding is said to be best which makes use of 
manacles and fetters ; as Hermes also says — The philo- 
sophers chain up their matter with a strong chain or 
band when they make it to contend with fire.^ 

Nam sine vi non uUa dabit prsecepta, neque ilium 

Orando flectes : vim duram, et vincula capto 

Tende. Doli circum h.-^^ demum frangentur inaiies.''^ 

To arrest this imaginative flux of freed vitality, we 
may well conceive that it needs the whole volun- 
tary force of the central magnet ; and that this alone, 
which is its proper reason, can compel it to repose. 
^b Reuchlin, concerning the two cathohc natures con- 
V . /^ . tainedinthe mirific Word, alludesy^saying: — One nature 
'^ ^ is such that it may be seen with the eyes, felt with 

the hands, and is subject to alteration almost at every 
moment : you must pardon, as Apuleius says, the 
strange expression, because it makes for the obscurity 
of the thing. This very nature, since she may not 
continue one and the same, is accordingly apprehended 
of the mind under such her qualification more rightly 
A TxM^ ^s she is^than as she is oat ; namely, as the thing is in 

truth, that is, changeable : the othei^ nature or prin- 
cipiating substance is incorruptible, immutable, and 
always subsistent.^ 

And this, adds an ancient and much esteemed 
Adeptiit,^is the work which I have sometimes seen 
with a singular and most dear friend ; who showed 
me certain large furnaces, and those crotvned with 
cornues of glass. The vessels were several ; having, 
besides their tripods, their sediments or caskets ; and 
within was a holy oblation or present, dedicated to 
the Ternary. But why should I any longer conceal 

• Tract. Aur. cap. iv. 
2 Georgio. lib. iv. 397. 

^ Eoucblin de Ycrbo Mirifico. And in the Crelnm Terriip of 
Vaughan. / 


Further Analysis. 319 

so divine a thing? Within this fabric, {i. e., the con- 
secrated vessel), was a certain mass moving circularly, 
or driven round about, and representing the very 
figure of the great world. For here the earth was to 
be seen standing of itself in the middest of all, com- 
passed about ivith most clear waters, rising up to 
several hillocks and craggy rocks, and bearing many 
sorts of fruit, as if it had been watered with showers 
from the moist air. It seemed also to be very fruitful 
oiwine, oil, and milk, with all kinds of precious stoties 
and metals. The waters themselves, like those of the 
sea, were full of a certain transparent salt — now white, 
now red, then yellow and purpled, and, as it were, 
chamletted with various colours, which swelled up to 
the face of the waters. All things were actuated 
with their own appropriate fire ; but in very truth 
imperceptible as yet, and ethereal. But one thing 
above the rest forced me to an incredible admiration, 
namely, that so many things, and diverse in kind, and 
of such perfect particulars, should proceed from one 
only thing ; and that, with very small assistance : 
which being strengthened and furthered by degrees, 
the artist faithfully affirmed to me that all those di- 
versities would settle at last into one body. Here I 
observed that fusil kind of salt to be not different 
from pumice stone, and that quicksilver, which au- 
thors call mercury, to be the same with Lully's 
Lunaria, whose water gets up against the fire of 
nature, and shines by night, but by day has a glu- 
tinous, viscous faculty.^ 

Here we have the whole Hermetic laboratory — 
furnace, fire, matter, and vessels, with their mys- 
terious germinations, subtly depicted and set apart. 
For this clarified hypostatis, (shall we not believe in 

^ See, in Lumen de Lumine, the Extract, p. 69. Also, the 
Parable of Sendivogius, and Paracelsus' s account of the magical 
separation of the Elements, and vision, in their native place. Hel- 
mont's Imago Mentis, in the beginning; and his Tree of Life. 
Genesis ii., Deut. viii., xi., &c. ; and, in Exodus, Moses's Descrip- 
tion of the Promised Land. Job xxviii., &c. 

320 Laws and Conditions. 

it?) is the stage of all Forms, and here they are spon- 
taneously produced, not in mere imagination, or as 
we miglit conceive imaginatively, oi', as in a dream, 
shadowly ; but as the true Genesis of Light. 

Haec dedit Argenti Kivos, Aerisque metalla 
Ostendit venis, atque auro plurima fluxit 
Hsec genus aere virum ; Marsos Pubeuique Sabella 
Assuetumque ; Malo Ligurem volcosque verutos 
Extvdit ; Hsec Decios Marios, maguosque Camillos ; 
Salve Magna Parens frugum 8aturnia Tellus 
Magna viiaim ! 

And though these images, with the rest, may ap- 
pear extravagant, and Virgil refers all the compliment 
to his native soil ; yet the truth, gathering strength by 
detail, may plead through the whole accord. Such 
are a few only of the remarkable declarations of in- 
dividuals who, by an experimental ingress, as they 
acknowledge, to the Vital Radix, have discovered the 
catholic original of nature, intellectual and material, 
with the ground of every phenomenon, through the 
arising spectacle of the Creative Majesty within them- 
selves. Alany might be added of good repute and 
accordant ; but numbers would not ensure more cre- 
dence for them, who ought, on their own authority, 
to be believed ; and have been and will be always by 
those who are able to glance freely, without ima- 
ginative hinderance, into the capability of mind ; and, 
by analogy of their own clear reason, can judge of 
that fontal revelation which, when entertained in con- 
sciousness, becomes efficient, and, in its simultaneous / 
energy, divine. Hence, they will perceive, -rmrl from i^-^ 
no idle dreaming, the conviction of those sublimated 
souls arose, who were not alone superior to the dicta- 
tion of folly, but were freed moreover from the liabi- 
lity to error which besets ordinary minds : for they 
had passed the turbulent delusions, not of sense only 
but of the selfhood, and having combated every 
sinister disguise in opposition, were proved and re- 
proved, previous to being admitted to the apperceptive 
vision of the Causal Truth which they describe, when 

Further Analysis. 321 

Light meeting Light, apprehends itself alone; and de- 
velops the triple mystery of its creative Law through- 
out, from the infernal motive wheel which is the origin 
of the mineral kingdom, through the whole inter- 
mediate paradisiacal vegetable growth, up to the final 
concord of the Divine Image in man. For as Life 
passes through the philosophic fermentation, its sub- 
stance is entirely transmuted, and the threefold pro- 
perty is developed, with a dividing of the heterogeneous 
parts, by an extinguishing of the forms and properties 
of the Medial Spirit. And not only is it resolved into 
these three principles, which Van tielmont also calls 
Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, but there is a procedure 
towards a radical destruction, almost annihilating the 
components of the former life, which at length, in its 
extreme exigence, draws a new seed to begin a New 
Generation. — And this is the way of the recedure to the 
Night of Hippocrates, leading thenceforth into the Day 
of Orpheus. 

It is not a little remarkable that the same ideas, 
even to their expression, are to be found in the meta- , 
physics of modern Germany as in the (|^abalistic com- rC' 
mentators and mystics of the middle ages. Yet the ^^ 
surprise which this might otherwise awake is dimi- 
nished, when we consider the universat characteristic of 
Reason ; whence it happens accountably that, that 
truth which common logic arrives at by abstraction 3i__^^L 
an inferential necessity, is the same which the Rabbifs^ ^-^ 
ontologically experimenting, and guided by the same 
Law, affirm out of their own more proving observation 
and experience. And thus we may illustrate the point. 

All things, says the German philosopher (Hegel), 
have their commencement in pare Being, which is 
merely an indeterminate tlwught, simple and imme- 
diate ; for the true commencement can be nothing 
else : but this pure Being is no other than a pure ab- 
straction, it is a term absolutely negative, which may 
also in its immediate conception be called non Being} 

1 Das reiue Seyn macHt den Anfang, weil es so wohl reiuer 


322 Laws and Conditions. 

Such is the conclusion rationally arrived at by sen- 
sible abstraction ; Kant, Fichte, but more especially 
Schclling whose intellectual penetration appears to 
have passed beyond these two, carried metaphysics 
into the same void non-entity at last. Hence the scep- 
tical result of their transcendental labours, which, too 
far surpassing sense and its phenomena to accept their 
proof, stopped short nevertheless of objective realization 
on their own ground ; there being arrested, faithful and 
as it were in view, without a means of passage to the 
promised shore. Yet so it is, that very hypostasis which 
bounds reason in transcendental abstraction, when 
met by contact of the inquiring light within, is that 
Absolute Identity which it seeks after, which, before 
all duality of consciousness, is the fortitude and life of 
all. But let us revert to the learned Rabbi's advice 
concerning the true nature of Divine Inversion ; for 
Ben Jochai and his disciples also affirm that God 
created all things out of nothing, and this not du- 
biously, sed quasi auctoritatem habens ; but in what 
sense this nothing is to be understood, we are thus, dif- 
ferently than by the German, informed. 

When the f abalists affirm that all things are 
drawn forth from nothing, they do not intend, says 
the Rabbi, from nothing in the common-sense ac- 
ceptation of that word ; for Being could never be pro- 
duced from non Being (deficiently understood), but by 
non Being they mean that which is neither conceiv- 
able as cause nor as essence, but yet is in fact the 
Cause of causes : it is that which we call the primitive 
non Being ; because it is anterior to the universe : and 
by it we do not signify corporeity either, but that 
Principle or Wisdom on which it is founded. Now if 
any one should ask what is the essence of Wisdom, 

gedanke, als das unbestimmte einfache unmittelbare ist, der 
erste Anfang. Aber niclits vermitteltes und weiter bestimmtes 
seyn kann. Dieses reine seyu ist nun die reine abstraction, 
damit das absolut negative welcbes gleicliftills unmittelbar genom- 
men das niclits ist. — Encyclopedic des Sciences Phil. 86 et 87. 
See M. Franck's observations on this point, and La Kabbale, p. 
187, &c. 

Further Analysis. 323 

and in what manner she is contained in non Being, no 
one can reply to this question : becaast in non Be- 
ing, there is no distinction (as of subject and object in 
the consciousness by which it can be truly said to be 
known) , no mode of true existence ; neither can we, 
therefore, comprehend, so to say, how Wisdom be- 
comes united to life.^ 

Now this doctrine is precisely in accordance with 
the Hermetic philosophy, and these definitions of the 
primitive non-being, perfectly correspond with the 
Platonic theology, and Aristotle's discourses concern- 
ing the origin of things and incomprehensible nature 
of the objective contact in Identity. And as to the 
dogmas of the rest, as of Thales, Pythagoras, Anaxa- 
goras, Parmenides, Empedocles, and others, which 
men have been accustomed neglectfully to run over ; 
it may not be amiss, as Lord Bacon advises, to cast 
our eyes with more reverence upon them.^ For, al- 
though Aristotle, after the manner of the Ottomans, 
thought he could not well reign unless he made away 
with all his brethren ; yet, to those who seriously pro- 
pose to themselves the inquiry after truth, it may not 
be displeasing to regard the positions of those various 
sages, touching the nature of things and their founda- 
tion. Nor ought we, in this our state of inconceptive 
ignorance, to conclude, as many have done, that these 
men spoke ill, or arbitrarily, imagining causes whereof 
to make a world, for it was not so : their elements, 
atoms, numbers, mathematics, physics, and metaphy- 
sics, or by whatever names their principiating ideas 
were distinguished — all their philosophy, in short, was 
confessedly established, and belonged to an experience 
and method of observation, to the profane multitude 
unknown. For they discovered, and have asserted, 
without arrogance or sophistication, that there are 
methods by which an ascent may be effected from the 
oblivious bondage of this existence, and, through a 

1 See La Kabbale, p. 214. Comment. Abram ben Dior on the 
Zephir Jezirah, p. 67, &c. 

^ Adv, of Learning, lib. iii. sec. 5. 

Y 2 

324 Laws and Conditions. 

gradual assimilation, to a survey more or less imme- 
diate of the Causal Source. 

And thus, neglectful though it has seemed in ge- 
neral of facts, and common-sense observation, these 
Greeks too derived nature mediately from a certain 
Intellect in energy, but without distinction, fixing her 
true Being in the Law of Universals. Those even who 
appear to differ, as for example, Thales, and the phy- 
siologist Empedocles — substituting elements as prin- 
^ ciples, do so in the choice of expression chiefly, and in 
the manner of regarding ; for the substance alluded to 
by them all is the same ; as we may judge by their 
definitions, which agree not with any material of ele- 
ments, or intellect, or atoms, that we discern or un- 
derstand at all ; but they speak, as before said, out 
C (I of another perception of things, exhibiting the phe- 
^^(Jit^^oi^'^ nomena of the . THiprr^tnntinl world. It may not be 
improper here to delay a short time, in order to point 
out to the more studious, how it happens, that so many 
mistakes have arisen about their doctrine, and that 
language apparently divergent, may, nevertheless, har- 
monize at its source. 

For that these philosophers have discoursed vari- 
^OLA^(y>\a ^' ously, is very certain; some^indecd of the Initial 
^ (J Principle, mtrHg. that it is one and finite, others infi- 

nite ; some, as Heraclitus, according to essence, have 
denominated it to ho, fire ; another, as Thales, looking 
to the first material manifestation, teaches that all y- 
beings have their beginning from luater ; whilst T^ mGac, ^^^ 
with no less reason or authority, mentions a certain ^ 

earth as antecedent, and the most ancient element ; 
but Anaxagoras, rather regarding the perfection and 
origin of the One Thing in consciousness, calls it In- 
tellect ; as Plato, likewise, in the Parmeiude.s, derives 
all things transcendentally, proving the perpetuity of 
Being in itself. But whilst these celebrate Mind as 
precedential, and those desire to indicate the subsist- 
ence of Matter, in either case it is the same ; for the 
mind is not without the matter (the universal element 
we mean), nor that matter without the mind ; but all 

Further Analysis. 325 

things, however various in manifestation, are consub- 
stantial in their Cause. 

And with respect to the number of principles and 
elementary transmutations, we may plainly perceive 
that it is not the common elements, or abstracts either, 
they contend about ; but their investigation concerned 
the prior Elements of Life ; which some, openly distin- 
guishing, call the Celestial Elements ; as Plato, in 
PhcEclo, speaking of earth, for instance, calls it the 
most and tut element ivithin the heaven; and Proclus 
informs us what we are to understand by the heaven ; 
— Heaven, he says, is the intellectual contact with the 
intelligible, for there is an intelligible which may be 
conjoined to intellect, and is its true end. ^ But this is 
in allusion to the highest sphere of ethereality, which 
Aristotle triply distinguishes, first, as the essence of the 
ultimate circulation of the universe ; second, as that 
which is in continuity with it ; and third, as that body 
which is comprehended by the last circulation. For, 
says he, we are accustomed likewise to call that 
heaven, which is composed from every natural 
and sensible body.^ That is the arising Spirit of 
the Universal Nature which, persisting separately, 
bounds as it were, by an invisible summit, every cor- 
poreal subsistence, and in the conscious alliance only 
becomes known. The same is called by Hermes, a 
Quintessence ; and the Hermetic philosophers, speak- 
ing of their earth, locate it even as Plato does, within 
their heaven ; and in order to distinguish from the fe- 
culent dead soil, call it magical, the Earth of the Wise, 
Olympus, Our Earth, &c., and of the other elements 
the same, as we have shown already in our Exoteric 
Theory, and elsewhere. Which the initiated poet, in his 
Aletamnrphoses, neither unaptly signalizes in the arising 
circulation of Nature from the four concentering winds. 

Hsec super imposuit liquidam et gravitate carentem, 
TEthera, Bon quicquam terrense fa^cis habentem.^ 

But Plato yet more plainly alluding to the Ethereal 

1 On tlie Theology of Plato, pp. 236, 240, &c. 

2 See his Treatise on the Heavens, book i. 
^ Ovidii Metam. lib. i. 67. 

326 Laws and Conditions. 

Quintessence, in Timceus, says, that of four elements 
the Demiurgus assumed One Whole from each, and that, 
by a reasoning process, he constituted the world 0)ie 
Whole from wholes, in all things perfect and free from 
old age and disease} As Aristotle again, where he 
says, that the world, being composed from all sensible 
matter, is one alone and perfect; cannot mean this 
world, which is neither uniform nor free from age or 
disease, or perfect in any way ; what other, therefore, 
should they either mean but the ethereal ; which art 
once taught them to segregate, and estabhsh upon the 
ruins of this mortal and dislocated existence ? 

That Euipedocles likewise taught a twofold order of 
natural procedure — the one intelligible, and the other 
sensible ; — deriving the latter as an image from the for- 
mer as an exemplar, is evident, from the whole tenor 
of his Physics For he identifies all things in respect of 
their source ; making elements there to subsist as quali- 
tative virtues, which, multiplying into being, become 
distributive powers, of which the sensible elements 
and this world are the remote subjects and emanation ; 
contrariwise, also, receding from eftect to cause, he 
shows how the universal frame is borne along in per- 
petual interchange. 

How many things to one their being owe, 
Pire, water, earth and air immensely high, 
And each with equal power is found endued, 
And friendship equalized in length and breadth. 
All things in union now thro' love conspire, 
And now thro' strife divulscd are borne along, 
Hence, when again emerging into light. 
The One is seen, 't is from the many formed. 
All mortals too, so far as they are born, 
OY 2)ermanent duration are deprived ; 
But, as diversified with endless change. 
Thro' this unmoved for ever they remain, 
Like a sphere rolling round its centre finn.^ 

Anaxagoras, and certain others of the early Greek 

^ Proclus on the Theology- of Plato, book v. p. 365. 
2 Empedocles, Physics, cap. i. 

Further Analysis. 327 

school, alluding to this absolute subsistence of things, 
assert, that matter likewise is the progeiiy of mind ; 
and the Alexandrians go so far as to explain the man- 
ner of its descent and efflux ; as if they too in aUiance 
had known these things, and by analogy, through 
their own, the structure of the universe ; observing so 
many fine distinctions and such a subtlety of onto- 
logical operation as was extremely difficult to deline- 
ate by words, or consistently in writing to unfold. 
Many, therefore, adopted fables, symbols, similitudes, 
enigmas, and the licence of poetry they also called in 
aid, as well on this account, as to veil their meaning 
from vulgar misprision and debate. But Aristotle 
preferred an abstruse style of diction to every other 
disguise, that he might be comprehensible to the pro- 
found only ; as, when writing to Alexander about the 
publication of his Acraomatic Ethics, he avows that 
none but his own pupils would be able to understand 

And with respect to those strictures on the writ- 
ings of his predecessors, we are disposed to take 
them in a particular application only ; his most erudite 
translator, Thomas Taylor, having also shown that 
their reference has been alienated and widely misunder- 
stood. The Aristotelian philosophy is built on simi- 
lar grounds, and arrives at the same conclusions as 
those whom it rebukes ; but the method is different, 
and herein the Stagyrite lays claim to superiority, 
rather than by professing any new basis of argument 
or superior knowledge. The differences that arose in 
philosophy owing to men regarding the same nature 
from diverse points of view, and the contradictions 
that occur in language, offended his accurate genius ; 
and he was desirous that they should harmonize in the 
expression of that truth in which they, by co-know- 
ledge, were agreed. That whereas, for instance, Pytha- 
goras would explain essence in number and define it 
by mathematical reasons, as Plato by Ideas, mingling 

^ See the Commentary of Simplicius in Plutarcli'a Life of Aris- 
totle, and the note, p. 4, to Taylor's Dissertation. 

328 Laws and Conditions. 

these with geometric symbols ; Parmenides and 
others, by atoms, elements, and by so many various 
ways ; he complains that they deliver nothing clearly, 
nor carry their principles duly and comprehensively 
through their whole system ; but shift from one asser- 
tion to another, that is apparently, varying their speech. 
Thus, in the beginning of his JMetaphijsics, — There are 
some, he says, who have discoursed about the universe 
as if it were indeed one nature ; yet all of them have 
not discoursed after the same manner, neither of that 
which subsists beautifully {i. e. intelligibly), nor of 
that which subsists according to nature. By no means 
therefore does their discourse harmonize in the sjdccu- 
lation of causes. For they do not speak like certain 
physiologists who, supposing Being to be one, at the 
same time generate the One fi'om matter : but their 
assertions are of a different nature ; for the physiolo- 
gists who contend that Being is one, when they generate 
the universe, at the same time add motion ; but these 
men assert that the universe is immovable. Thus, 
Parmenides appears to have touched upon the One 
according to Reason; butMelissus, according to Matter; 
heiice the former asserts that the universe is finite ; 
but the latter that it is infinite. But Xenophanes, 
who was the first that introduced this doctrine, did 
not assert anything clearly, nor does he appear to have 
apprehended the nature of either of these ; but look- 
ing to the whole heaven, he says, the One is God. 
These men therefore are to be dismissed, two of them 
indeed as being a little too rustic, — viz., Xenophanes 
and Melissus, but Parmenides appears to have seen 
more than these where to speak. ^ 

Such like defect of method and incorrectness of 
diction does the Stagyrite complain of, sparing none 
of his predecessors ; but his opposition is uniformly 
directed to the letter rather than to the spirit of their 
doctrine ; for he was strenuous in asserting the caus- 
ality of mind, and praises those as in the highest degree 
gifted who perceived this; in his ]\Ietaphiisicfii\\YO\\^\\- 

' ]Metaphysics, sub init. 

Further Analysis. 329 

out, evincing a magnificent appreciation of the Intellec- 
tual ground. But he was desirous, as we have said, 
to methodize philosophy ; and accordingly undertook, 
by establishing a system of universal logic, to correct 
the imperfection of common thought and speech. The 
design was noble, and carried out to the original inten- 
tion and on its own intimate basis, was no doubt 
valuable to fix experiment and assist in defining and 
unfolding, by means of the categories, as by a conge- 
nial channel, the birtli of the Divine Intellect into life 
and manifestation. 

That was the syllogism so important to be sought 
after, which also is according to Aristotle the true 
object of philosophy ; in the universal terms of which 
every other science is implicated, and without which 
nothing permanent is said to be endued. When, losing 
this substantial ground and aim therefore, the Orgauon 
began to work upon itself, it grew weak and wore out 
gradually, as Bacon observed it in his day becoming 
worse than useless, since it occupied an intellect that 
might have been better employed, and substituted for 
truth the least salutary kind of satisfaction in the dis- 
play of scholastic subtlety and aimless dispute. 

The same has happened with the Pythagoric num- 
bers, and those mathematics which had all their original 
keystone in the Arch of Heaven ; or how else should 
numbers have been established as the causes of things 
if they had not been allied in idea to something better 
than themselves ? All things naturally produce their 
similars, numbers beget numbers, letters and words 
constitute phrases, and lines superficial forms only. 
They may, by composition, be made, in their way, to 
represent the degrees and kinds of things ; but this is 
the utmost of their abstract capability. They cannot 
produce themselves, or anything else, into substantive 
appearance. We may exhaust all their combinations, 
divide, add up, and multiply figures to infinity, we 
shall have figures and nothing more ; nothing solid, 
long, short, or square, not the smallest grain of sand 
without the Efficient which is in all. 

This being obvious therefore, we judge that when 

330 Laws and Conditions. 

the ancients established numbers as the causes of 
things and derived from them the gods themselves, 
with all their hosts of power and material depen- 
dencies, they had some very different idea at- 
tached from that which modern theorems or their 
probations supply. Or shall it be believed that 
Pythagoras was so wanton and vain-glorious as to 
sacrifice a hecatomb, when he discovered that the 
subtendent of a right-angled triangle is equivalent to 
those parts which contain it ; or that Thales, when, 
as is related, he did something of the same kind about 
the inscription of the circle, gained nothing more than 
a fiat demonstration for his pains ? Or are not rather 
the hecatomb, and the theorem separately symbolical, 
and alike relating to the discovery of that miraculous 
Psychical Quintessence, known to the wise as the 
Tincture of the Sapphiric Mine which, being in its own 
threefold segregated essentiality equal to the whole 
dissolute compound whence it arises, casts off" the 
superfluity, sacrificing the old nature to begin anew? 
Charon does not ply the Stygian Lake without a re- 
compense, neither are the secrets of the highest causes 
approached without a mean of expiation ; but the 
vicarious dedication of huge beasts, will not avail 
whilst their Prototypes remain feeding and fattening 
in the Philosophic Field. 

The habit of exhibiting points of abstruse philoso- 
phy by mathematical reasons, has been general in 
every age ; but in order to derive from them or fi'om 
numbers anything substantive, it is necessary that 
the point or unit should be established as something 
absolute ; that every dependent partaking, whether 
multiplied, added, or dixaded amongst each other, may 
be essentialized in the same. Hence Zeno said (of 
Elea, not the Stoic) that if any one should undertake 
to demonstrate the philosopher's Unit, he would unfold 
Being. For the One of these philosophers is the Foun- 
tain of all Being; and just as there is a descent from 
unity into multitude, and all that multitude is implied 
in the One ; and this furthermore fills all and each of 
its dependent multitude — as one is in two, and two in 

Further Analysts. 331 

three, and three in four, and four in five — and still 
that unit, which is in the beginning, is implied in all 
and is in all ideally ; so is each Being said to be implied 
in all and all in each, and every part of each in all, 
from the equilibriate eternal centre to its infinite 
extremes. And as the smallest fragment of the load- 
stone remains perfect in two poles, and each particular 
spark of fire contains the principle and developing 
force of the entire kindred element, so may we not 
conceive every portion of existence to be continent 
and comprehended proportionally of the Great Whole ? 

All those amongst the Greeks who have written 
concerning this Whole, and who appear to have arrived 
at an experimental conception of its reality in the self- 
knowledge, unanimously assert that it is simple, and 
not so much therefore an object of reason as of contact 
and intuition. They contend moreover, with the Al- 
chemist, that there is a certain pure matter subsisting 
about InteUigibles which is universal, and the proved 
origin of every vital and corporeal existence ; that 
though occult in nature, it can be made manifest to 
sense even, and exhibited in divine and practical 
effects. But it was forbidden by the mandate of the 
Mysteries that their revelation should be communicated 
to the profane ; and the modern Alchemists are, with 
few exceptions, silent respecting the metaphysics of 
their Art ; the Neoplatonists were, however, more 
communicative, since, forbearing direct allusion to 
the Practice, they feared less to speak of Principles 
and the procedure of mind. Their writings appear 
indeed as so many auxiliaries to the perception of 
ontological causes, and their reasonings and images 
are admirably adapted to stimulate that faith which, 
dormant as we now are in the corporeal darkness, 
glows notwithstanding responsive to the truth within. 

If we desire to investigate principles and the highest 
causes, let us inquire now therefore of them briefly, 
how we may begin to learn ; and concerning this -le- At-cA.c/ 
teHtgible Matter whether it is, what it is, and after ' 
what manner it ought to be conceived of, what the 

332 Laws and Conditions. 

perception of it resembles, and what relation it bears 
in general to the reasoning power, and finally how it 
comes forth out of the Causal fountain to be in effect ? 
The following summary gathered from the scientific 
conduct of Plotinus and Porphyry may not be unac- 
ceptable to the philosophically inquisitive reader. 

That it is necessary there should be a certain Sub- 
ject of bodies which is different from them, is suffi- 
ciently evinced by the continual mutation of corporeal 
quantities ; for nothing that is transmuted is entirely 
destroyed ; since if such were the case there would be 
a certain essence dissolved into nonentity; and this 
persisting, there would be no remaining ground of 
generation. But change arises, indeed, from the depar- 
ture of one quahty and the accession of another ; the 
subject-matter however — that which receives the forms 
and reflects them — always remaining the same and 
proceeding and receding continually into itself. 

This therefore Corruption manifests (especially the 
artificial), for corruption is of that which is composite, 
and so each sensible thing is made to consist of matter 
and form and their union in corporeity. This too In- 
duction testifies, demonstrating that the thing which 
is corruptible is composite. Analysis likewise evinces 
Ci/r\^ CA^crr^ ^^^ same thing, as if for example ^^^ pot should be 
resolved into gold, but gold into water; and the water, 
being incorruptible, will require no analogous process.^ 

* Here Plotinus doubtless makes an allusion to the mystical 
analysis ; drawing his comparison also fi-om tlience. For by no 
other analysis either is a pot resolved into gold, or gold into a 
water which is indissoluble. But what he says is perfectly con- 
formable to the Hermetic doctrine, both in an internal and in an 
external sense ; for, by a reducation of the iron spirit in the blood, 
it becomes cleansed from its foreign oxide and aurified — that is, 
illuminated by contrariation of its I'orm. Tlie radical moisture of 
tlic metal likewise, obeying the fcrmentive virtue of such a test when 
applied, may be made to pass away, as the tradition runs, from 
its own Foi'm into that which is more integral and perfect. All 
tilings may be reduced to gold according to this doctrine, as Al- 
bcrtus ]Magnus in his book T)e Mineralihus asserts, and where also 
he is cited by Be<^cher in his Plujsica Svbterranea, p. 319 : — Non 
dari rem elementatum in cujus ultima substantione non reperiatur 

Further Analysis. 333 

But the elements, continues Plotinus, are neither 
form, nor matter, but composite and therefore corrup- 
tible ; and since everything manifest is corruptible, and 
yet a certain subsistence remains, it is necessary there 
should be a Nature primarily vital which is also form- 
less, indestructible and immortal, as being the principle 
of other things. Form indeed subsists according to 
quality and body in manifestation ; but matter accord- 
ing to the subject which is indefinite, because it is not 
form. This Indefinite is not therefore everywhere to 
be despised, nor that w^hich in the conception of it is 
formless, if it applies itself to things prior, i. e., to 
the divine exemplaries, and the most excellent life. 
Neither should it be considered by any one as incredi- 
ble that the?'e is a certain pure and divine Matter me- 
diately subsisting between primary and secondary causes 
and their gross effects ; but it is rather requisite to be 
persuaded by philosophical assertion that such is the 
case, and that by means of the Theurgic Art it is made 
manifest and imparted through arcane and blessed 
visions. So far do the ancients likewise extend matter 
even to the gods themselves ; and no otherwise ac- 
cording to them can a participation of superior Being 
be effected by men who dwell on earth, unless a foun- 
dation of this kind be first established. For this 
Matter, as Jamblicus relates, being connascent with 
the gods by whom it is imparted, will doubtless be an 
entire and fit receptacle for the manifestation of Di- 
vinity. He moreover adds, that an exuberance of 
power is always present w^ith the highest causes ; and 
at the same time that this power transcends all things, 
it is nevertheless present with all in unimpeded energy. 
Hence, the first illuminate the last of things, and im- 

aurum. That is (if we may interpret), Light, wliich is the formal 
essence of all things, and most abundant in gold, is found in 
the ultimate alchemical analysis of every existing thing. — That 
all metals, likewise, may be reduced into water, that is, into 
their first pure matter, is the doctrine of Plato and }iiQ_diaci^ e» 
Aristotle. See Taylor's Translation of the Timseus of the former, 
and the Meteors of the latter, and the Select Works of Plotinus, 
p. 38, note. 

334 Laws and Conditions. 

material are present with material natures immani- 

Since, then, it becomes necessary simply to refer 
Being to all things, and all things sympathize thereby 
internally with each other ; but consciousness in this 
natural life of ours is separated off from the antecedent 
essentiality, so that we perceive in reality nothing of 
our true selves : hence the ancients have declared this 
life to be little better than a diminution of existence ; 
for by no ordinary process of rational contemplation 
is the mind able to conceive this nature or the infini- 
tude of true Being. But if any one wish to discover 
the One Principle he must become first assimilated to 
it, as Proclus in the sixth book, on the Parmerndes of 
Plato directs — he must raise himself to that which is 
most united in nature, and to its flower and that 
through which it is Deity ; by which it is suspended 
from its proper fountain and connects and unites and 
causes the universe to have a sympathetic consent with 
itself — I have also, says Plotinus, investigated myself, 
as one among the order of beings, and the reality is 
testified by reminiscence ; for no one of real beings 
subsists out of intellect nor as sensibles in place ; but 
they always abide in themselves, neither receiving 
mutation nor corruption.^ And again in his treatise 
concerning the Descent of the Soul, the same author 
relates, — Often when by an intellectual energy, I am 
roused from body and converted to myself, and being 
separated from externals, retire into the depths of my 
essence, I then perceive an admirable beauty, and am 
then vehemently confident that I am of a more ex- 
cellent condition than of a life merely animal and 
terrene. For then especially, 1 energize according to 
the best life and become the same with a nature truly 
Divine ; being established in this nature I arrive at 
that transcendent energy by which I am elevated be- 

/ ^ <lamblicus on the Mysteries, chap, xxiii. sect, v., and Plotinus' 

Select Works — of Matter, and of the Impassivity of Incorporeal 

2 Select Works, p. 294. 

Further Analysis. 335 

yond eveiy other intelligible, and fix myself in this 
sublime eminence as in an ineffable harbom' of repose. 
Bat after this blessed abiding in a Divine Nature, fall- 
ing off from Intellect into the discursive energy of 
reason, I am led to doubt how formerly and at present 
my soul became intimately connected with a corporeal 
nature ; since in this deific state she appears such as 
she is herself, although invested with the dark and 
everflow^ing vestiment of body. And since there is a 
twofold nature, one intelligible and the other sensible, 
it is bettei^ indeed for the soul to abide in the inteUi- 
gible world ; but necessary from its condition that it 
should participate of a sensible nature ; nor ought it to 
suffer any molestation because it obtains only a middle 
order in the universality of things ; since it possesses 
indeed a divine condition, though it is placed even as 
in the last gradation of an intelligible essence, border- 
ing, as it were on the regions of sense. For our souls 
are able alternately to rise fi'om hence, carrying back 
with them an experience of what they have known 
and suffered in their fallen state ; from w^ience they 
will learn how blessed it is to abide in the Intelligible 
World ; and by a comparison, as it were of contraries, 
will more plainly perceive the excellence of a superior 
state. For the experience of evil produces a clearer 
knowledge of good, especially where the power of 
judgment is so imbecile, that it cannot without such 
experience obtain the science of that which is best.^ 

These things supposed then, we proceed to a more 
intimate consideration of the Material Principle which, 
according to these philosophers, the Divine experience 
imparts ; that we may judge how far they agree or 
whether they differ at all in their definitions from those 
of the foregoing Hermetic philosophers and adepts. 

These Greeks wishing indeed to exhibit, as well as 
words might enable, the peculiarities of this Matter 
when they assert that it is one, immediately add that 
it is all things, by which they signify that it is not 

1 See Plotinus on the Descent of the Soul, last of the five 
Treatises rendered by T. Taylor. 

336 Laws and Conditions. 

some one of the things with which sense brings us ac- 
quainted ; and in order that we may understand that 
the Identity in every Being is something uncompounded, 
and that the mind should not fall into the error of 
coacervation, they say it is one so far as one ; depriving 
the idea of multitude and dual, i. e. rejflective, con- 
templation. When likewise they assert that it is 
everyw^here, they add incontinently that it is nowhere ; 
so on endeavouring by means of contrary peculiarities 
to gather the mind up into a neutrality about itself; at 
one and the same time exhibiting these in order to ex- 
terminate from the apprehension those notions which 
are externally derived, and such ordinary reasoning as 
tends to obscure rather than elucidate the essential 
characteristics of real Being. Neither is there any 
absurdity in their conduct of the understanding so far, 
or even in an external sense considering one thing to 
be many, since every centre bears a circumference of 
radii, and each dependent number differs from the One. 
But since the ethereal element is described by so 
many ablative characteristics, since they assert it is 
neither form, nor quality, nor corporeal, nor reason, 
nor bound ; but a certain Infinity ; how therefore ought 
we to conceive, asks Plotinus, of that which is infi- 
nite? What is its idiom in the intellection, or how is 
such an image to be entertained by the reasoning 
power ? Shall we say it is indefiniteness ? For if the 
similar is perceived by the similar, the Indefinite also 
will be apprehended by the Indefinite : Reason how- 
ever in such an apprehension, will become bounded 
about the Indefinite, that is to say, will pass out from 
itself into an undefined void of thought. But if every- 
thing is known by reason and intelligence, and no 
otherwise, and here reason is bounded so that it cannot 
be said to have intelligence ; but, as it were, a depriva- 
tion of intellect is implied, how shall we conceive such 
a state of being to be genuine, or believe it even to be 
at all ? Yet Plato, in Timceus, informs us that Matter 
is indeed to be apprehended, and that by a sort of 
defective or ablative reasoning ; and Aristotle has been 

Further Analysis. 337 

at some pains in his Aletaphysics to explain the con- 
ceptive idiom of Materiahty. I mean, he says, by 
Matter, that which of itself is neither essence nor 
quantity, nor any one of those things, by which Being 
is defined. For there is something of which each of 
these is predicated, and from which Being and each of 
its predications are different ; but Matter, being the 
last of things (extant without identity), has neither 
essence nor quantity nor anything else in the percep- 
tion, at least of those things which subsist according 
to accident. Or if any one from this suppose Matter 
to be essence, he will err ; for a separate subsistence 
as this or that particular thing especially belongs to 
what we call essence, (that is to say, composition of 
subject and object is necessarily implied in the idea 
of true intelligence,) which is both posterior and an- 
terior to the subject sought ; which therefore is in a 
certain respect manifest only, being one and void in 
respect of other things ; Matter, therefore, concludes 
the logician, is made veritably manifest only by 
negation and in defect of true Being; so that, to 
pass into contact with it, is to be in a certain respect 

Since, then, they assert this subject-matter to be 
somewhat ; and real, notwithstanding all its inverse 
and irrational characteristics ; ought we not to analyze 
yet more profoundly therefore, not shghting reason 
indeed, but passing through it, beyond every bound 
and finite probability in order to conceive that kind of 
ultimate ignorance, which is the Infinity of Life ? Whe- 
ther shall we conceive it to be an all-perfect oblivion, 
or such an ignorance as in the absence of every know- 
ledge is present ? or does the Indefinite consist in ne- 
gation simply, or in conjunction wdth a certain inter- 
rogative affirmation? Or shall we suppose it to be 
like darkness to the eye, obscurity being the ground 
of every visible colour? For to this, also, the wise 
ancients have compared the estate of Being verging to 

1 Aristotle's Metapli. book ix. p. 221 ; book x. p. 237, 154, Ac. 


338 Laws and Conditions. 

anniliilatioii : and as the sensual eye without hght sees 
nothing but darkness, becoming in a certain respect 
and for the period one with it ; so the mental eye, ob- 
servant of no attracting object, thought, reflection, 
and all that in sensibles resembles light being sub- 
merged, and not being able or having the motive to 
bound that which remains, is said to become wholly 
into that obscure oblivion which is the Original of Life : 
a crass, obscure vacuity — as in the Descent Virgil de- 
scribes it — vast, endless, horrible — and Parmenides 
and the rest cited to prove the same initial non- 
entity of all ; having the same relation to true Being, 
indeed, as silence to sound, as night to day, or as body 
rude and misshapen bears to any artificial form with 
which it may afterwards become endued. And as that 
which is above all degrees of intelligence is a certain 
infinite and pure light, so is this darkness, therefore, 
to be conceived at the opposite extreme of the mag- 
netic chain, which is extended a non gradu ad uon 
uradum : and this is that ladder of Celsus and of Zo- 
roaster which reaches from Tartarus to the highest 
Heaven. Just as in the ascending series of causes, it 
is necessary to arrive at something which is the Final 
Cause of all ; so in descending analytically it is equally 
necessary to stop at the contrary conclusion, which is 
thus proved, in the experience, to be the last and lowest 
eflfect, in which all the attributes of the First Cause are 
not only deficient but reversed. 

When therefore the mind is in the Night of Matter, 
shall we sup])ose that she is affected in such a manner 
as if she understood nothing? By no means, says 
the philosopher — but when she beholds Matter she 
suffers such a passion as ivlien she receives the Being of 
that which is formless ; and her perception of the Form- 
less Subject is obscure, and vast, and infinite, as we 
have shown, where descending into the bosom of the 
Mysteries, Intellect, having already analyzed and sepa- 
rated the component parts of Being, becomes dis- 
mayed about the sensation of her extreme life. Then 
indeed she understands obscurely, and sinking into the 

Further Analysis. 339 

Abyssal Subject, feels, but understands not her intellec- 
tion any more ; until, pained with the void of the re- 
treating infinitude, (such being the divine decree,) and 
as if afraid of being placed out of the order of things, 
the soul retracts, rallying about her last deserted Unit, 
and not enduring any longer to stop at nonentity, be- 
comes into true Being. So true is it, that Death is the 
way of Life, and that the fear of God is the beginning 
of Wisdom. 

For Self-knowledge is impossible unless every other 
knowledge is deprived ; as this selfhood hkewise 
is obliterated in the overwhelming attraction, which 
raises it into the First Cause. And thus extremes 
are said to be present at the new birth, when Light 
springs forth to manifestation out of the abyssal Dark- 
ness, which is then alone before its Creator ; and is 
brought forth by Him for a First Matter to give con- 
trasting substance to His revelation, and understanding 
to His Act. — As the motto simply expresses it — Deus, 


And since it is given us in theory to understand 
that such an hypostasis is in the beginning without 
all affirmation, being neither life, nor intellect, nor 
reason, nor bound, for it is infinite ; nor power from 
itself, but falls off from the consciousness of all these ; 
so ought we therefore to conceive of the First Matter, 
which cannot either receive the appellation of Being, 
since it is not known in energy, but flies from him, 
indeed, who wishes intently to behold; for the thought, 
as circumscribing boundary, eludes the Infinite, and 
thus the desire is, in this instance, diametrically opposed 
to the presence of the thing desired. When therefore, / /y j a 
as the Platonist and -Gdt^ teach, it is unknown, or ^.c. ytu:?u>txZ(.i 
known as nothing ; it is rather probably present, but 
is not perceived by him who strives self-actively to com- 
prehend it. And this the poets signify in the story of 
Actseon, who for his presumptuous intrusion was dis- 
graced by the goddess and hunted thereafter by his own 
distracted thoughts ; but to the sleeping Endymion she 

z 2 

(6 1 

340 Laws and Conditions. 

vouchsafed her wilUng presence, and the vast benefits 
of her love. 

Quaeres multuin et non iuvenies 
Fortasse inveuies cum non quaeres. 

When you have assumed to yourself an Eternal 
Essence, says Porphyry, infinite in itself according to 
power ; and begin to perceive intellectually an hypos- 
tasis unwearied, untamed, and never faiUng, but trans- 
cending in the most pure and genuine life, and full 
from itself; and which, likewise, is established in itself, 
satisfied with and seeking nothing but itself; to this 
essence, if you add a subsistence in place, or a relation 
to a certain thing, at the same time you diminish this 
essence, or rather appear to diminish it, by ascribing 
to it an indigence of place or a relative condition of 
being ; you do not, however, in reality diminish this 
essence, but you separate yourself from the percep- 
tion of it, by receiving as a veil the phantasy which 
runs under your conjectural apprehension of it. For 
you cannot pass beyond, or stop, or render more per- 
fect, or effect the least change in a thing of this kind, 
because it is impossible for it to be in the smallest 
degree deficient. For it is much more sufficient than 
any perpetually flowing fountain can be conceived to 
be.^ If, however, you are unable to keep pace with it, 

1 The Mind of the Divinity, says Trismegistus, which becomes 
known by the Divine Intention in tlie understanding, is most like 
unto a torrent running with a violent and swift stream from a 
high rock, whereby it glides away also from the understanding of 
such as are either hearers or dealers in it. — Asclepius, cap. i. end. 
See also Vaughan, Lumen de Lumine, where, discoursing with 
Nature in her mineral region, the artist describes the same Matter 
as if he had been an eye-witness of the whole supernal procedure 
from its source. — A fat mineral nature it was, he says, bright like 
pearls, and transparent like crystal ; when I had viewed it and 
searched it well, then it appeared somewhat spermatic ; and here- 
vpon I became informed that it was tlie First Matter and very 
natural true sperm of the greater world. It is invisible in nature 
and therefore there are few that find it ; many believe that it is 
not to be found ; (for the world is made up of many divers dark 
and particular ajid contrary qualities, and the first unity is occul- 

Further Analysis. 341 

and to become assimilated to the whole Intelligible 
Nature, you should not investigate anything pertain- 
ing to real Being ; or if you do, you will deviate from 
the path that leads to it, and will look at something 
else ; but if you investigate nothing else, being esta- 
blished in yourself and in your own Essence, you will 
be assimilated to the Intelligible Univei-se, and will not 
adhere to anything posterior to it. Neither therefore 
should you say, I am of a great magnitude; for omit- 
ting this idea of greatness, you will become univei*sal, 
as you were universal prior to this. But when, together 
with the universe, something was present with you, 
you became less by the addition ; because the addition 
was not from truly subsisting Being, for to that you 
cannot add anything. When, therefore, anything is 
added from non-being (i. e. from the subjective self- 
hood) a place is afforded to poverty as an associate, 
accompanied by an indigence of all things. Hence, 
dismissing non-beiug, you will then become sufficient ; 
for when any one is present with that which is present 
in himself, then he is present with true Being, which 
is everywhere ; but when you withdraw from yourself, 
then likewise you recede from real Being : of such 
great consequence is it for a man to be present with 
that which is present with himself, that is to say, with 
his rational part, and to be absent from that which is 
external to him.^ 

Add to this, that contraries are always consubsistent 
in the Divine Original — the small, the great, the defi- 

tated in its generation and does not appear). But that stream was 
more large than any river in her full channel ; and notwithstanding 
the height mid violence of the fall, it descended without any noise, 
the waters were dashed and their current distracted by the saltish 
rocks, but for all this they came down with a dead silence like the 
still soft air. Some of the liquor, for it ran by me, I took up to 
judge what strange ivoollen stibstonce it was that did steal down like 
snow. When I had it in my hand, it was no common water but a 
certain kind of oil of a watery complexion. — Lumen de Lumine, 
pp. 7, 8, &c. This same, Sendivogius in his New Light, calls the 
water of our sea, the water of life, not wetting the hands ; and be- 
lieve me, he says, for I saw it with my eyes and felt it, that water 
was as white as snow, &c. 

1 Porphyry's Auxil. to the Perception of Intelligibles, sect. iii. 

342 Laws and Conditions. 

cient, and the exceeding ; for as a mirror is, to external 
images, passive, neither able of itself to withhold, nor 
yet to pass away, so is this ethereal glass to intellect, 
subsisting according to processure and in defect of all 
imagination. Hence, every imagination concerning it 
will be false, either that it should appear in the con- 
ception as any particular thing, or contrariwise as 
nothing ; for it is both ; and the subsistence, which is 
the reahty of it, may be felt indeed, not known — but 
as an escape of consciousness into its primal source 
without ideal hmitation. Thus is it said to be formless, 
variable, incorporeal, infinite ; neither mere power, nor 
perfect action, but a weak superstantial prolific nature, 
as it w^ere nothing in the Idea yet in Being all things 
— whence every form of life, increase, and materiality 
also are derived. And Ideas, as they enter into and depart 
from it, are seen as images which pervade without 
dividing, like shadows in water, or more exactly as in 
a dream ; or as if we should conceive imaginations sent 
into a repercussive mirror or reflective vacuum of the 

And the Passive Nature ought indeed to be a thing 
of this kind, pure and indeterminate ; that it may 
reflect, without self-hinderance or refi'action, the Divine 
Light throughout ; that there may be no falsehood or 
commixture of images, but the Truth only, and alone, 
and by itself should be made manifest in life. Such was 
the Alatter so often celebrated by the Alchemists, the 
Quintessence of Plato, the Water of Thales, the Non 
Being of Parmenides, and that Abyss of the Caba- 
Hsts, styled also by them Unknown, Void, Nothing, 
Infinite, until, returning by its Rational Boundary in 
the Freed Will to consciousness, it makes manifest 
the Life, Wisdom, Plenitude, and Supreme Cause of 
all. And concerning this Matter ecclesiastics of dif- 
ferent orders are happily agreed : Pierce the Black 
Monk, with the Benedict Valentine ; the experimental- 
ist Friar Bacon, with the Greek Divine ; Synesius, 
with the Canon Ripley, Morien, Lully, and Albertus 
Magnus ; the Mahomed an princes Calid, Geber, and 
Avicenna, with Paracelsus and the Christian brother- 

Further Analysis. 343 

hood of the Rosy Cross, who, having searched into 
Nature by their proper Reason experimentally, found 
Her's ; and used it ; giving thanks, and adoring the 
perfection of the Almighty Creator in his discovered 

For in the natural world there is no such Matter to 
be found ; but the purest is defiled with the imagination 
of Forms externally introduced. Nothing therefore is 
generated truly, i. e. we mean, simply so as to represent 
the Formal Agent alone ; or can be ; for Nature is bound 
magically, nor is she able of herself to loosen the bond 
of coagulation, by which her Inner Light and principle 
of perfection is everywhere shut up. She cannot enter 
into the True Light ; for, as the adept says, she has no 
hands, ^ nor intellect sufficient, nor a will free to vin- 
dicate her final purpose in life. It is therefore she 
proceeds to generate in monotonous retrogression, 
always circulating into herself. If indeed things be- 
held in Nature were such as the Archetypes, whence 
they are derived, it might be said that matter is 
passive to their reception ; but that which is seen as 
that wdiich sees is falsified, and nothing possesses a 
true similitude ; all is mixture and an adulterous 
manifestation, so far as the phenomenon of the ex- 
ternal Nature is concerned. Without the magical 
solution and human aid to fortify, the Spirit is not 
able to forsake her extraneous forms even, much less 
can she conceive herself singly in the Universal anew. 
Wherefore she reads this important lesson to Ma- 
dathan, who thinking, in his ignorance, to make 
the Philosopher's Stone without dissolution, receives 
this check: — An tu nunc cochleas vel cancros cum 
testis devorare niteris ? An non prius a vetustissimo 
planetarum coquo maturari et preparari illos oportet? 
Dost thou think, says she, to eat the oysters, crabs, 
shells and all ? Ought they not first to be opened and 
prepared by the most ancient cook of the planets ? 

If any one now, therefore, by hazard should lightly 

^ Klum Ariadue, page 61. 

344 Laws and Conditions. 

propose to himself to probe this Matter ; yet without 
risking anything, or devoting his hfe, as philosophers 
did formerly, to the pursuit ; but thinks the times are 
altered, and that his mind, being on the alert, will dis- 
cover it, or that some entranced sleepwaker will reveal 
the truth to him, if there be any, without delay ; let him 
be advised by these monitions ; since Life and nothing 
but Life, and no other Fire but that of Intellect, 
sublimed and fortified in its efficient source, discovers 
the True Matter of the adepts ; and this, as we are 
abundantly instructed, by a dissolution of the Vital 
Spirit and alienation of its natural bond. — Flesh and 
blood cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, 
neither doth corruption inherit incorruption ; the 
sting of death is sin, but the strength of sin is in 
the Law of dual generation. 

Debito modo ergo Lapidem solvas, 

Et nequaquam sophistico, 
Sed potius secundilm mentem sapient6ni, 

Nullo corrosivo adliibito ; 
N^usquam enim aqua aliqua est, 

Qua* solvere possit lapidem nostrum, 
Pra^ter unicum fonticulum purissimum et limpidissiuium, 

Sponte scatxu'ientem, qui latex ille est. 
Ad solutionem idoneus, 

Sed omuibus fere absconsus, 
Incalescens quoque per se, 

In causa est, ut lapis svdet lachnjmas ; 
Lentus calor externus ei expedit, 

Id quod memorife probe niandabis. 
Adhue iinum tibi aperire libet, 

Quod nisi Yiderisy?/»n/;« Hiyrinn 
Inferius, superiusque albedinem existere. 

Opus tuum sinistra pei'actum est, 
Et lapidem errone solvisti, 

Ex hoc signo potes statim cernere. 
Si vero recte procedis, 

Apparet tibi atra nebula, 
Quae fundum sine mora petet, 

Spiritu albedinem assumente} 

All that is performed in the Proto-chcmic artifice 

^ Luccrna, Salis Phil. p. 30, cap. iii. 

Further Analysis. 345 

may be comprehended in three terms — solution, sub- 
Hmation, and fixation. Solution dissolves and liquifies 
the included Spirit ; sublimation volatilizes and washes 
it ; and after calcination there is a reunion into a more 
permanent form of Being. And these processes are 
reiterated many times, and many labours of body and 
mind have to be undergone, as in the Practice will be 
demonstrated ; and as Hermes himself assures, that to 
obtain the blessed Lunary of Diana, he had suffered 
much, and toiled incessantly. For the spirit is in the 
beginning, even in the best disposed subjects, terres- 
trial, heavy, fantastic, and proves rebellious every- 
where at its Source. And, as in the Sphinx's fa- 
bles, we read that when vanquished, she w^as carried 
within the temple upon the back of an ass, this is 
to signify the simple estate of Being to which such 
a nature is to be reduced by deprivation of all passion, 
will, imagination, purpose, or reflective thought. Nei- 
ther, perhaps, is the patient suffering that has after- 
wards to be endured, in bearing and bringing forth 
the burden of the divine mystery, unaptly repre- 
sented under this same guise of an ass ; for it is 
not until the conquered elements return under the 
humiliating cross of dissolution that the catholic 
Wisdom is made manifest, and brought to hand. 
Agrippa, in his Vanity of the Sciences, has written 
many things in favour of this asinine condition, w^hich 
is very necessary, he says, for a disciple of Wisdom to 
undergo ; for this beast is an example of fortitude, 
patience, and clemency, and his influence occultly de- 
pends on Sephiroth, i. e. Hochma. He liveth on tittle 
forage, is contented with whatsovei^ it be ; is ready to 
endure penury, hunger, labour, stripes, and persecution; 
is of a very simple, indifferent understanding, yet withal 
has an innocent, clean heart ; without choler, and peace- 
ful, bearing all things without offoice ; as a reward for 
which virtues, he wanteth lice, is seldom sick, and 
liveth longer than any other beast. — So runs the paral- 
lel according to the magician's mind; and the ass, he 
goes on further to observe, does also many labours 

346 Laws and Conditions. 

above his part ; for ht brcakttli the earth with the 
plough, (Iraiceth many heavy carts and water in mills, 
grif/ds cor?!, &c. ; and these things wiUingly, for 
against his will he does not go. All which qualifica- 
tions are, in their similitude, very applicable and ne- 
cessary to be found in the Philosophic Subject ; and 
without which it does not serve or carry out into 
operation the Divine behests. But many wonderful 
stories are related of this allegorical ass in former 
times, and of his qualifications, which the familiar 
quadruped is no more known to exhibit ; nor is he 
even treated with that kind of consideration which 
tradition has secured in certain instances for things 
less celebrated and as unworthy. For did not the 
Saviour signalize this beast above every other, making 
choice of it on the occasion of his greatest earthly tri- 
umph ? Of Abraham, too , the Father of the Faithful, we 
read that he constantly travelled with his asses ; and 
that one, ridden by the prophet Balaam, was notoriously 
clear-sighted and, more discerning than his master, 
intelligibly spoke. A story, little less astonishing, is 
related of Ammonius, tbe philosopher, that he ad- 
mitted an ass daily to be the auditor of his lectures, 
and join in fellow scholarship with Origen and the 
Greek Porphyry. Who would believe it? Yet this 
same ass has been accounted a worthy companion 
of the wise in all ages, and has borne the burden 
of the Mysteries from time immemorial, Jews, Eth- 
nics, Christians, have in turn, identifying, honoured 
him ; neither, perchance, had Apuleius of Megara 
been admitted to the mysteries of Isis, if he had not 
first of an inquisitive philosopher been turned into an 
ass. There is no creature, concludes the panegyrist, 
that is so able to receive divinity as an ass, into whom 
if ye be not at length turned, ye shall in no wise be 
able to carry the divine mysteries.^ For nothing that 
is defiled by information, or inconstant, or impassive, 

' Vanity of the Sciences, chapter next in conclusion. Apuleius, 
Metamorphoses, or Golden Ass. 

Further Analysis. 347 

or selfish, or impure can attract Divinity, All mixed 
unguents are hateful to Minerva. 

The goddess scorns 
All mixture of her pui'e and simple oil.^ 

And, as in the Mysteries, the Aspirant entering- into 
the interior to behold the Adytum, leaves behind him 
all the statues in the temple ; so must the mind be 
prepared to depart from all images and intellections, 
whether self-originating or impressed, before it can 
entertain the simple Unity of Light within. The wise 
hierophants indeed appear to have signified by these 
illustrations the order in which Divinity is perceived. 
For, as when returning after the association within, 
which was not with a statue or mere mental image 
(but with the reality which these images represent), 
the statues again present themselves as secondary 
objects to view ; so likewise, subsequent to the Divine 
Union, there recurs That also which was in the mind 
prior to the union, exalted and multiplied. Af/d That 
ichick thus remains to him who passes beyond all 
things, is That ivhich is prior to all things, and the 
First Jilatter. For the soul does not willingly accede 
to that which is entirely non-being, but running back 
from thence in a contrary direction, it arrives not 
at another thing but at itself. And as in the Di- 
vine conjunction, whilst it lasts, there are not two 
things as of subject and object in the consciousness, 
but the life understanding and the light understood are 
one ; whoever thus becomes One by mingling with 
the Efficient, will have a remnant of it with himself; 
according to the eloquent tradition of Plotinus, where, 
discussing this union, he treats it as no mere spectacle 
or theoretical figment, but as a true experimental 
ingress of the understanding essence to its source. 
And the light and energy which are there, he says, are 
of the First Light shining primarily in itself, which at 

' Callimachus's Hj^mn to Minerva. 

348 Laws and Conditions. 

one and the same time illuminates and is illuminated. 
But if any one should inquire what the nature is 
of this First Light, which is the foundation of every 
intellect and primarily knows itself, such a one should 
first become established in Intellect, when he will be 
able through it, as an image, to behold the Arche- 
type. And this, continues the philosopher, may be 
effected if you first separate body from the man and its 
defilements ; and That which becomes generated of in- 
tel/igence, after everything foreign is removed, is the 
original of all. For this primary motion of the ebbing 
life from its ultimate recessure recreates, and so the 
Generative virtue, which was alienated, becomes re- 
united to Mind. 

And here we observe the rule of thought to be in- 
variable, whether theoretic or in actual operation ; 
whether, according to strict analysis, reason becomes 
bounded about its own inversion, as with common 
logic is the case ; or, experimentally proving, it effects 
that inversion, strictly followed either way, it arrives 
at the same Truth, though in different relations, the 
one in hght, the other in life, the one by inference, 
the other in Absolute Identity, proving the First 
Source. The differences and inconsistencies that occur 
in the ancient writers, and those faults which now to 
verbal critics are most apparent, vanish for the most 
part in their right understanding, and might cease to 
be regarded as such, could we but for an interval only 
enter into their original light. The proud spirit of 
modern science might then be taught to venerate the 
Wisdom it has so long in ignorance despised ; even to 
honour the very contradictions, which not from levity 
or indistinctness of thought arose, but from such an 
excessive subtlety and refinement of reason rather, as, 
seeking to find utterance, was blurred by inadequate 
reception, and the duplicity of common speech. 



Of the Manifestation of the. First ATatter, and lis 
Information by Light. 

"Wisdom is poured forth like water, and glory failetli not before 
Him for ever. — Book of Enoch, c. xl. v. 1. 

LET US now conceive the Vital Spirit tbeurgically 
purified and freed through sacrifice of all foreign 
attractions, revolving about its centre and having 
power active and passive in hypostatic union always 
about to generate the infinite fulness which it contains 
and draws ; as even now we approach, carrying along 
with us the body of our Sphinx, subdued and contrite, 
to the gate of the first Adytum ; where we would con- 
template awhile, in the vestibule, admiring at the Tears 
of Isis, even that blessed Water which Nature sheds 
divinely for thersmszioef the world. For not all was 
vaporous vision, as we have shown, or mere ideality 
on the internal ground ; but experience there was pre- 
sent with power and effect in substance to bear it wit- 

It was scarce day wlien, all alone, 
I saw Hyanthe and her throne ; 
In fresh green damasks she was drest, 
And o'er a saphir globe did rest. 
This slippery sphere when I did see. 
Fortune, I thought it had been thee ; 
But when I saw she did present 
A majesty more permanent, 
I thought my cares not lost, if I, 
Should finish my discoverie. 

Sleepy she looked to m.j first sight, 
As if she had watched all the night, 
And underneath her ha^id was spread 
The white supporter of her head : 
But at my second studied view, 
I could perceive a silent dew 

350 Laws and Conditions. 

Steal down her cheeks ; least it should staijne 
Tliose cheeks, where only smiles should reign, 
The tears streamed down for haste, and all 
In chains of liquid jJearl did fall. 
Fai}- sorrows ; and more dear than joys, 
AVhich are but emptie ayres and noise ; 
Tour drops present a richer prize. 
For they are something like her eyes. 

Pretty white Fool ! why hast thou been 
Sullied with tears and not with sin ? 
'Tis true ; thy tears like polished skies, 
Are the bright rosials of thy eyes ; 
But such strange /a^e« do them attend. 
As if thy woes would never end, 
From dro2)s to sighs they turn, and then 
Tliose sighs retm-n to drops again : 
But whilst the silver torrent seeks 
T\\o^e flowers tliat watch it in thy cheeks, 
The white and red Hyanthe wears, 
Turn to rose water all her tears. 

Have you beheld ^Jlame that springs 
From iticense, when sweet curled rings 
Of smoke attend her last xoeak fires. 
And she all in perfumes expires ? 
So died Hyanthe ; here, said she. 
Let not this vial part from thee, 
It holds my heart, tho' now 'tis spilled, 
And into waters all distilled, 
'Tis constant still: trust not false smiles, 
Who SMILES and weeps not, she beguiles. 
IS'ay trust not tears ; false are the few. 
Those tears are many that are true. 
Trust me, and take the better choyce, 
AVho hath my tears can want no joyes} 

When divine Causes and human Conditions which 
are assimilated to them are co-ordinate to one and the 
same end, the perfection of such works overflowing 
returns a pure and most bright reward. 

Ite profani ! Fanum est fanum 
Nihil ingreditur profanum. 

For thought does not move, passing its owm essence 
into feehng in vain ; but mercy imparts the benefits, 
and gifts of the most exquisite sacrifice. 

^ Vaughan's Ccelum Terrae, p. 93, &c. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 351 

Nor less instructive than elegant is the following- 
Prosopopoeia of the Stone. 

In nomine Dei viventis et vivijicantis. 

Terra mihi corpus, vires mihi praestitit ignis : 
Alta domus qufero, sedes est semper in inio : 
Et me perfundit qui me cito deserit liumor. 

Sunt milii sunt lacrymae, sed non est caiisa doloris ; 
Est iter ad coelum, sed me gravis impedit aer : 
Et qui me genuit, sine me non nascitur ipse. 

Pulvis aquae tenuis, modico cum pondere lapsus, 
Sole madens, sestate fluens, in frigore siccus, 
Elumina facturus, totas prius occupo terras ; 

Mira tibi referam nostrse primordia vitae : 
Nondum natus eram, nee eram tum matris in alvo, 
Jam posito partu, natum me nemo videbat. 

Non possum nasci, si non occidero matrem : 
Occidi matrem, sed me manet exitus idem. 
Id mea mors patitur, quod jam mea fecit origo. 

Vita mihi mors est, morior si caepei'o nasci ; 
Sed prius est fatura letlii quam lucis origo ; 
Sic solas manes ipsos mihi duco parentes. 

]\Iagna quidem non sum, sed inest mihi maxima virtus, 
Spiritus est magnus, quamvis in corpore parvo. 
Nee mihi germen habet noxam, nee culpa ruborem. 

Ambo sumus lapides, una sumus, ambo jacemus ; 
Quam piger est mius, tantum non segnis it alter ; 
Hie manet immotus non deserit ille moveri. 

Findere me nnlli possunt, praecidere multi : 
Sed sum versicolor, albus quandoque futurus 
Male manere niger, minus ultima fata verebor. 

NuUa mihi certa est, nuHa est peregrina figura. 
Fulgor inest intus, radianti luce coruscus, 
Qui nihil ostendit, nisi si quid viderit ante. 

Non ego continuo morior dum spiritus exit. 
Nam redit assidufe, quamvis et saepe recedat : 
Et mihi nunc magna est animse, nunc nulla facultas. 
Phis ego sustinui quam corpus debuit unum. 
Tres animas habui, quas omnes intus habebam. 
Dicessere duse, sed tertia poene secuta est.^ 

This marvellous subsistence of the Vital Principles 
in their extreme separation by Art has been already- 
noticed, and will be in the Practice more particularly 

1 Theatrum Chemicum, vol. iii. p. 763. 


352 Laws and Conditions, 

hereafter. It may be sufficient for the present to ob- 
serve, that great care and dihgence is needed at this 
juncture to apply the threefold secret of the Art ; 
so that the hypostatic principles of attraction and re- 
pulsion and circulation may be brought into a perfect 
equilibriate accord, the one no more acting than the 
other is resisting in the ethereal bond. — Seek Three in 
One, and again seek One in Three, dissolve, congeal : 
and remember, saysKuhnrath, most carefully to observe 
the threefold law of the composition, otherwise the 
animated spirit cannot be conjoined to the body, nor, on 
the other hand, will the body be reunited to the spirit. 
Which process, however, being rightly gone through 
from the beginning — the new Chaos of the Universal 
Nature of the new world will then appear to be un- 
folded and separated. Apply no manual labour, but 
when you shall have enacted the separation, — (cum pcf - 
'-^ < 'o j^c3a ^ motum in ire, -^j ^ e ris internum et pro gaudio, 
lachrymabis !) — thou wilt surely understand that the 
original sin has been removed, separated by the Fire 
of Divine love in the regeneration of the three princi- 
ples — body, soul, and spirit. I write not fables : With 
thy hands thou shalt touch, and with thy eyes thou 
shalt see Azoth ! The Universal ! which alone, with 
the internal and external fire in harmonious sympathy 
with the Olympic Fire, is sufficient for thee : by inevit- 
able necessity, physico-chemically united for the con- 
summation of the Philosopher's Stone. ^ 

When, in the last extreme of tribulation and depart- 
ing life, the returning faith and desire of the Passive 
Spirit attracts the Soul again into herself, the first link 
in the chain of the magnetic series moves : then the 
Divine Fiat comes mercifully to bless the union, and 
a new hypostasis is created out of the darkness to 
abide : the fiery soul suffi3rs itself again to be impri- 
soned, as by a lawful magic, in the hquid crystal of 
the understanding ether ; and the light which is in her 
then streams forth brightly rejoicing in her Paradise 

• fethnrath, Ampli. Sap. Etern., Isag. in fig. cap. viii. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 353 

Regained. Then it is Lu.v mnmfeste et visibUis ad ocu- 
lum, as the adept says, in which state it is first made 
subject to the artist. 

Mars et Venus, ou plutot Mars par Venus, en fait unC^ 
fort noble medicine et precieu^, qui a le grain fixe so- u'eA 
laire ; et ces deux font ensemble le mariage si celebre / 

aupres des amateurs de la sagesse : pendant leur Con- 
jonction, il s'eleve une vapeur tres spiritueuse et ne- 
cessaire a un grand ouvrage : il faut prendre cette va- 
peur avec des filets bien subtils : dans le reste on 
trouve un vitriol bien beau, dont on tire par des opera- 
tions fort subtiles et de difficulte decouverte, un soii- 
phre solaire ou or philosophique vivant.^ — Which 
subtle device of Vulcan most profoundly hidden unless 
the artist shall have rightly conceived either by 
spiritual aid or himself experimenting in a triune fur- 
nace spherically round, his labours are declared to be 
vain, even though working in the right material, if 
he cannot cause it to appear. If the horse's strength 
be yet denied, in vain he will strike upon the moun- 
tain, the flinty conscience yields no chalybeate, feels 
no contrition, but by the fiery well-tempered steel. 

Haud licet altaris latices haurire salubres 

Cui scelerum viru mens moribunda tumet : 
Divino calice abstiueat, ne cordis ad arcem 

Pervehat arcanam potio iniqua luem. 
Diffluat in lacrymas vehemens qiias fervor amoris 

Elicit, et fletu diluat ante scelus. 
Culpa ciens lacrjanas non tota est couscia, ^•i^u 

Gemma oritur, foedi filia pulchra patris. 
Gutta fluena oculis velut Indicus uuio fiet 

Ut medicina reo, sic pretiosa Deo. 
Post lacrymas e fonte potest haurire salutem : 

Qui non flet moritur, ne moriare, fleas ^ 

All is sown under the cross and completed in its 
number — Darkness will draw over the face of the 
Abyss, Might, Saturn and the Antimony of the Wise 
will be present, Obscurity and the Head of the Crow 
in the various hour of conjunction ; and all the co- 

^ Mystere de la Croix, chap. xiii. 

2 Orpheus Eucharisticus Emblema LVI. — Apodosis. 

A A 


354 Laws and Conditions. 

lours of the world will be apparent ; also Iris, God's 
messenger, and the tail of the peacock ; as the rain- 
bow through the falling drops, reflects the sunbeam 
in the apparent ether after the storms are overpast 
and the dark clouds are dispersed, the same beautiful 
token of reconcihation is made apparent in the Micro- 
cosmic Heaven; the fire and water are commingled, and, 
falling together under the cross, germinate, and the 
beautiful Ideal of Harmony is born of the SjDirit. 

In cruce sub sphera venit Sapientia vera. 

This is the union supersentient, the nuptials sub- 
lime. Mentis et Universi ; the Thought solitary unites 
itself to the non-being, or simple Understanding of its 
ether, and proceeds into simultaneous subsistence with 
exuberance of power. This is the marriage, by the 
ancients so many times prefigured, of Peleus and 
Thetis, of Earth and Heaven, when the gods, attended 
with all their attributes, come together in divine hila- 
rity ; of Bacchus and Ariadne ; of Jason with Medea, 
when, after many trials and risk of life, he gained with 
her the golden fleece from Colchos. Lo ! behold I 
will open to thee a mystery, cries the Adept, the 
bridegroom crowneth the bride in the North ! — In the 
darkness of the North, out of the crucifixion of the 
cerebral life, when the sensual dominant is occultated 
in the Divine Fiat and subdued, there arises a Light 
wonderfully about the summit, which, wisely returned 
and multiplied according to the Divine blessing, is 
made substantive in life. 

In Arsenic sublimed there is a way streiglit, 
Wytli Mercury calcined, nyne tymes liys weight, 
And grownd together with the Water of Myglit, 
Whicli beareth ingression of Lyfe and Light. 
And anon, as they together byne, 
Alio rnnnytli to Water bryght and schene ; 
i^pon this Fii'e they grow together 
'I'ill they be fast and flee no whyther : 
Then feed them fortli with tliine own Hand, 
Wilh meat and broad, tyll they be strong, 
And thou shalt have a good Stouc.^ 

• Pierce, tlie Black Monk, on the Elixir. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 355 

Our golden water, says the adept, is not found in 
wells, nor in profundities, but in higher places, and as 
the inhabitants of the Canary Islands draw sweet 
water fi'om the tree tops, so is ours taken from the 
higher parts of the world ; for Mercury, being ripe, 
arises to her superior habitation.^ Exalt her, and she 
shall promote thee ; she shall bring thee to honour 
when thou dost embrace her ; she shall give to thy 
head an Ornament of Grace ; a Crown of Glory shall 
she deliver unto thee.^ Return then, O my son, 
reiterates the Hermetic Master, the coal being extinct 
in life, as I shall note to thee ; and henceforth thou 
art a Crowned King, resting over the Fountain and 
drawing from thence the Auripigment, dry without 
moisture : now I have made the heart of the hearers 
hoping in thee to rejoice, even in their eyes beholding 
thee in anticipation of that which thou possessest. 
Rejoice now, therefore, O son of Art ! who hast the 
Sun for thy Diadem and the Moon Crescent for thy 

Ce qui a ete attii^e doit etre cuit si long temps 
d'une certaine maniere de repetition, jusqu'a ce qu'il 
montre les couleurs de Tare en ciel ; signe de grace 
et de reconciliation ; et que les goutes pesantes tomhent 
dans le fond du vase recipient ; quasi comme un mer- 
cure commun distille : ce qui vous donnera un 
Ophthalmique et Antiepileptique merveilleux ; et meme 
quelque chose de plus si le Seigneur vous ouvre les . 

yeux. Get ouvrage s'appelle Aimantique} i/^ / 

Lastly, says I^»nrath, after the ashy colour, and the n-AjAy/ 
white, and the yellow, thou shalt behold the Stone of / 

Philosophers ; our King and Lord of hosts go forth from 
the chamber of his glassy sepulchre, into this mundane 
sphe?'e, in his glorified body, regenerate and in perfec- 

1 Mercury's Caducean Rod, sub iuit. 

2 Proverbs of Solomon, iv. 8, 9. 

•^ Tract. Aur., cap. ii., and Ripley Revived. 
^ Mystere de la Croix, chap. xiii. 
a A 2 

356 Laws and Conditions. 

tiofi perfected ; as a shining carbuncle, most temperate 
in splendour, and whose parts, most subtle and most 
pure, are inseparably blent together in the harmonious 
rest of union into one.^ 

It is an adopted maxim with the Adepts that they 
who sow in tears shall reap in joy. For he that re- 
enters liberated and with the prepared Light of intel- 
lectual faith, mourning, and, like another Achilles, 
conscious of self-sacrihce, to besiege the fortress of 
Self-Will in life, prevailing at length through death 
jj/_ and every obstacle, the Divine Will favouring, is not 
I^IjI/i^>XlLl/ only promoted through the whole teppestafe, and con- 
/ verted to the proper virtue and perfection of its root ; 
but there, likewise, to increase, triumph, and multiply, 
according to the hermaphroditic virtue of its conceived 
Law. So Life is perfected in Wisdom, and the Will 
springs up in Paradise with fair golden fruits. 

Corpus solutum est aqua perennis congelans Mercurium perpc- 
tua congelatione. 

Never grudge, then, that thou hast destroyed thy 
gold, says Eireneus, for he that thus destroys loseth 
it not, but soweth good seed in good earth, from 
whence he shall receive it again with one hundred-fold 
increase.^ Whereas he that saves his gold, that is to 
say, remains satisfied in the first-fruits of his reason, 
loses his labour, and is deceived, like Midas, and dis- 
mayed for want of understanding and faith in the 
destination of Causes. 

But if any one here demand, how that which is 
destroyed shoukl be capable of increase, and how^ the 
newly implanted motive takes root in life? The 
Apostle has best answered it ; as concerning the 
mystery of the resurrection, he shows, by the common 
analogy of nature, the Law to be such. Behold, says 
he, that which is sown is not quickened except it die ; 

^ j^tAnratli, Auiph. Sap. Etern., cbap. viii., Isag. in fig. 
2 Eipley Revived, pp. 108, 198. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 357 

and that which is sown is not the body that shall be, 
but mere grain, as it may be of wheat or any other 
grain. — The germ of all Being is indeed corrupted 
before it is brought forth, and seeds spring up not as 
seeds merely, but into a perfect resemblance of their de- 
veloped stock ; yet is not anything the more bettered 
in its kind, but the process of vital melioration is 
further exemplified in the fermentive art, where, by a 
contrition and fretting of their elementary particles, 
natures are transformed, and their bodies spiritualized 
and preserved by the assimilating must or leaven. So, 
in man, — there is a natural body and there is a spiritual 
body. Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but 
that which is natural, and afterwards that which is 
spiritual. — The Rational Light, once discovered and set 
in motion, acuates the Spirit, and the Spirit, in its 
turn penetrating, overcomes the corporeal, wdiich is 
the sensual dominant, in the regeneration ; and so 
swallows up the same, that it is glorified and trans- 
figured, occultating the body in more luminous mani- 
festation. — Know ye not how a little leaven leaveneth 
the whole lump ? Purge out therefore the old leaven, 
that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.^ 

Solve et Coagula, reiterates the Benedictine Monk, 
Dissolve and Coagulate ; after putrefaction succeeds 
generation, and that because of the incombustible sul- 
phur that heats or thickens the coldness and crudities 
of the quicksilver, which suffers so much thereby, that 
at last it is united to the sulphur and made one body 
therewith. And these, viz., the fire, air, and water, are 
contained in one vessel in their earthly vessel, i. e. in 
their gross body or composition ; and I take them and 
then I leave them in one alembic, where 1 decoct and 
sublime them, without the help of hammer, tongs, or 
file; without coals, smoke, or fire, or bath ; or the alem- 
bics of the sophisters. For I have my heavenly Jire, 
which excites and stirs up the elemental one, according 
as the matter desires a more becoming agreeable Form.^ 

^ 1 Coriiithians,x.v. 6, 7. 

- Mehuiig ill A^aughau's Coelum Terrae, p. 122. 

358 Laws and Conditions. 

And the Light is made manifest in great Darkness, 
viz., in the contrition or distress of the sensible nature 
in the conscience, where a pecuHar motion is present ; 
even then, as Jacob Bohme says, cometh the Power of 
Christ in the midst of such a motion. And, further, 
of the noble tincture arising in the Hght, he says — It 
cometh forth from anguish into the meekness of the 
hght and springeth forth afresh through the mortifying 
anguish,^ as a life having a)wther property, where the 
property of the fire is a desiring, and thereby it at- 
tracteth the virtue of the Light into itself, and maketh 
it an essence, ^^z., Water. — Common chemistry is not 
without an analogy of this kind, by the condensa- 
tion of light producing it into a fluid form. But herein 
are the two forms : one according to the source of the 
fire, which is red, and therein the virtue, viz., sulphur 
is ; and the other is like a thin meekness, yet having 
co-essentiality, is water, which is the desiring tincture ; 
and both of which contracting together into one, are 
converted into Blood. Now the original in the blood, 
viz. fire, which is its warmth, is life ; and in the vir- 
tue of the warmth, the thin Water of Life proceedeth ; 
one virtue proceedeth forth from another, and the vir- 
tue doth always re-assume that which goeth forth. 
And this is the true Spirit which is born of the Soul, 
wherein is the Image of God, and the Divine Virgin of 
God's wisdom consisteth. For all understanding and 
knowledge lieth in this Spirit ; it hath the senses and 
the noble life, which uniteth it with God : for this 
Spirit is so subtle that it can enter into God, if it 
resigneth itself up to Him ; and, casting away the cun- 
ning Jire of its own soul, putteth its ivill into God; 
then it dwelleth with Him in power, and is clothed With. 
the Divine Essentiality.'^ 

And this Essentiality it is which qualifies the true 
Adept ; which sanctifies even as it qualifies, infusing 
true goodness into every life that it has once adorned. 

^ And, therefore, Herines says, tliat the sure quality of the 
golden matter and the nature thereof is not sweetness, &c., cap. 7. 
^ Bohme's Turned Eye, Quest. 37. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 359 

It is this Material of the Corner- Stone which links 
reason to Divinity, Theology to the subtle philosophy 
of the middle ages, and made the vulgarly contemned 
Art of Alchemy to be honoured and holy. — It is sown 
in corruption, It is raised in incorruption ; It is sown 
in dishonour. It is raised in glory ; It is sown in weak- 
ness. It is raised in power ; It is sown a natural body, 
It is raised a spiritual body. The first man is of the 
earth, earthy ; the second man is the Lord from hea- 

And this is that great and miraculous mystery of 
our Image, which it behoves us to reflect into, rather 
than profanely to discuss ; that we may know our 
true selves, and what Adam, even our Father, is ; and 
what the Son ; and, without error or presumption, 
that Holy Spirit which fabricates all things, and sus- 
tains all by the Word of his Power. — 

Non poterit ilia dare qui uon habet : habet autem nemo, nisi 
qui jam eohibitis elementis, victa natura superatis coelis, proge 
suos Angelos, ad ipsum Archetypum isqvie transcendit ; Cujus 
tunc Cooperator effectus potest Omnia. 

For the Soul, being in such a condition, associates with 
her Efficient, and he who perceives himself so to asso- 
ciate will have a similitude of It with himself. And if he - jf^^^A^'^-^ 
■rpasses from himself as an image to the Archetype, 
he will then attain the end of his progression. And 
when falling off from the vision of God, if he again ex- 
cites the virtue which is in himself and perceives him- 
self to be perfectly adorned, he will again, says the 
Platonic Successor, be elevated, through virtue pro- 
ceeding to Intellect and Wisdom, and afterwards to the 
Principle of things. 

Vaughan, in his Anima Magia, has well described 
the Hypostatic Metamorphoses ; and how the Light, 
striking in a rapid coruscation from the centre to the 
circumference, depends from the solitary unit through 
the surrounding vapour, in a vital magnetical series ; 
where the celestial nature, he says, differs not in sub- 

1 I Corinthians, xv. 42, &c. 

360 Laws and Conditions. 

stance from the aerial spirit but only in degree and 
complexion ; and the aerial differs from the aura or 
material efflux of the soul in constitution only and not 
in nature : so that These three, being but One substan- 
tially, admit of a perfect hypostatic union, and may be 
carried by a certain intellectual Light into the supreme 
horizon, and so swallowed up of immortality. — Behold 
I show you a mystery, says the Apostle, we shall not 
all sleep, but we shall be changed , in a moment, in 
the ticinkling of an eije, at the last trump (for the 
trumpet shall sound) and the dead shall be raised in- 
corruptible, and w^e shall be changed. For this cor- 
ruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal 
must put on immortality} 

And know, says Roger Bacon, that it is impossible 
for you to attain this immortal essentiahty, unless you 
become sanctified in mind and purified in soul, so as to 
be united to God, and to become one spirit with Him. 
But if you revolve these my instructions in your mind, 
you may obtain the knowledge of the beginning, the 
middle, and the end of the whole icork. And you 
will perceive such a subtlety of Wisdom, and such a pu- 
rity of matter, as shall amply replete your soul, and 
fill you with satisfaction . And when you shall ap- 
pear thus before the Lord, He will open to you the 
gates of His treasure, the like of which is not to be 
found on earth. Behold, I show you the fear of the 
Lord, and the love of Him, with unfeigned obedieiwe ; 
nothing shall be wanting to them that fear the Lord, 
who are clothed with the excellency of His holiness : 
To whom be all praise.^ % 

For as in the Beginning there was said to be one 
only matter of all things, so in this imitative process 
all diversities of things are seen to proceed from and 
return to this only One ; which is called a conversion 
of the elements, and a conversion of the elements in 
this respect is just to make actives passive and passives 
active ; the occult becoming manifest and the manifest 

^ 1 Corinthians, xv. 51, Sic. 

2 Eogeri Bachouis Eadix Mundi, lib. iii. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 361 

occult in inverse order of conception. And he, says 
Sendivogius enigmatically, who knows how to congeal 
water with heat, and to join a spirit thereto, shall cer- 
tainly find out a thing more precious than gold, and 
every thing else. Let him therefore cause that the 
spirit be separated fr^om the water, that it may putrefy 
and be like a grain. Afterwards, the faces being cast 
awayy let him reduce and bring back the spirit again 
from the deep into water and make them be joined again, 
for that Conjunction will generate a branch of unlike 
shape to its parents} 

In such a process it was that the Quadrature of the 
Circle was supernaturally demonstrated ; which natu- 
rally it cannot be ; and in no other way but by a trans- 
mutation of the hypostatic relations, as in a circulat- 
ing medium making passives active and actives passive. 
In the first conjunction the Spirit predominates ; in 
the second the Soul, i. e., its Light; which two are, by 
adepts, called Mercury and Gold, and the activity of 
mercury over gold in the first place is because the 
formal virtue of Sol is acatod ; his sulphur is imprisoned, 
so that he is not aware of it, does not feel or know 
himself, as we may say, until penetrated by the Mer- 
curial Spirit, then he sends forth his Light ; to which 
the Mercury, in turn becoming passive, conceives and 
bears an offspring more perfect than either parent. 
And when that light is again taken and given to a 
proper recipient, it is made a thousand times more fit 
and apt to bring forth excellent and abundant fruits. 

Fac ex mare et foemina circulum ; inde quadrangulum ; hinc 
triangulum, fac circulum, et habebis lapidem philosophorum.^ 

For beyond all the four precedent degrees of per- 
fection there is made a Fifth Essence, which neuter 
from all, yet partaking of all in perpetuity of union, 
the Ethereal Quadrangle becomes a Circle of golden 
light in eternity ; being advanced into the order of 

^ Sendivogius, New Light, Treatise v. ; Kubnrath, Amph. Sap., 
cap. viii. 

- Maieri Atalanta Fugiens, Emblema xxi. 


362 Laws and Conditions. 

spirits permanent, which, though they have bodies, yet 
are not subject to those laws of gross corporeity 
which fetter bodies unregenerate. And therefore the 
philosopher's Mercury is a system of wonders ponde- 
rous, fixed, and, as a petrifaction from water is, ex- 
(j[uisitely compact; yet penetrative wdthal and com- 
municative of tincture ; for it can pass, as it were, in the 
twinkling of an eye to the very centre, and, projected 
on the imperfect metal of any life, dissolves it, draw- 
ing away the very foundation into itself. Thus the 
author of Luctrna Halls describes the gold of the 
Wise to be by no means vulgar gold ; but it is a certain 
water clear and pure, on which is borne the lightning 
of the Lord ; and it is from thence that all things receive 
their life. And this is the reason, continues he, why 
our gold is become spiritual ; by means of the spirit 
it passeth through the Alembic, its earth remaining 
black, w^liich however did not appear before, but now 
dissolves itself and becomes a thick luater. The which 
desires a more noble life, to the end it may be able to 
7'ejoin itself. By reason of the thirst it has, it dis- 
solves and is dissevered, which benefits it very much ; 
because if it did not become water and oil, its spirit 
and soul could not unite nor mingle with it, as it then 
does ; and in such a manner that of them One Thing is 
made which rises to a consummate perfection ; the 
parts thereof being so firmly joined together that they 
can never after be separated.^ 

This then is the Conjunction in which all the mys- 
teries of the Microcosm have their consummation — 
the true circulated Form of Gold ; the Conjunction, by 
Kipley called tctraptive, that so highly commended 
fountain of Pythagoras, and Divine Tetractys. 

"VVhouco all our Wisdom springs, and which contains 
Perennial Nature's fountain, cause, and root.^ 

Tetractys, fourfold, drawn from three heads by the 

' Lucerua Salis, p. 39 ; from tlie Latin verse, Aurum Sapienttim, 

- Jamblicus's Life of Pythagoras, chap, xxviii. 


Manifestation of the Matter. 363 

obstetric hand of the physico-chemical Art and with- 
out possibiUty of dissolution any more ; for those prin- 
ciples so joined together of God, man cannot any more 
put asunder. 

There is no liglit but what lives in the Sun, 

There is no sun but which is twice begott ; 

Nature and Arte the parents first begonne : 

By Nature t'was but Nature perfects not. 

Arte then, what Nature left, in hand doth take. 
And out of one a twofold worke doth make. 

A twofold work doth make, but such a work 

As dotli admitt Division none at all, 

(See here wherein the secret, most doth lurke,) 

IJnless it be a mathematical. 

It must be two yet make it one and one, 
And you do take the way to make it none. 

Lo here, the primar secret of this Arte, 

Contemne it not, but understand it right. 

Who faileth to attaine the foremost part. 

Shall never know Arte' s force or Nature's might. 
Nor yet have power of one and one, so mixt, 
To make by one fixt, one unfixed fixt.^ 

Here again the geometric method of procedure 
with the Metaphysical Embryo, through its complex 
parts, is epigrammatically symbolized by the Adept 
Michael Majer. 

Poemina masque unus ^ost tibi circulus, ex quo 

Surgat^ habens »quum forma quadrata latus. / 

Hinc Trigonum ducas, omni qui parte r^tundam / 0> 

In sphferam redeat : tum Lapis oetus ehit. ' j 

Si res tanta tuae non mox venit obvia menti, 
Dogma Geometree si capis, Omne scies.^ 

He therefore who discovers the Quadrature, and on 
this ground is able to demonstrate it, will have a 
reward sufficient without the University patronage or 
a more laborious proof. For having resolved all sorts 
and ideas of things, all thoughts, passions, and actions 
to one and the same Principle, he will not alone have 

1 Enigma Philosophicum, Ashmole's Theatrum, p. 423. 
- Maieri Atalanta Fugiens, Epigramma xxi. 

364 Laws and Conditions. 

that Principle, and be able to compose and renumerate 
every former particular out of the same ; but, accord- 
ing to the philosophic report, he will be percipient of 
the most beautiful and Universal Mystery of Nature ; 
having before himself, as in a glass, the great Arche- 
typal Law of Light, in which are all things causally 
ranged in the order in which they were originally dis- 
tributed and set apart. As, in the Pimander and Book 
of Wisdom, we read, — The whole world is before thee, 
O God ! as a little grain of the balance, as a moment 
of the little tongue in the weights and scales, and as 
a drop of the dew that falleth in the morning upon 
the earth. ^ — Perfect in the Microcosmic Unit as in the 
total Deity of the Great World. For no sooner, it is 
said, does the Divine Light pierce to the ho.som of the 
matter, but the pattern of the whole Universe appears 
in those Subject Waters, as an image in a glass, con- 
ceived and divided forth in all the vastness of ideal 
distinction and effulgence upon that glorious meta- 
physical height where the Archetype shadows the 
intellectual spheres. 

Tu cuncta superno 
Ducis ab exemplo pulchrum pulcherrimus ipse 
Mundum mente gerens, siuiilique iu imagine formas,^ 

Tell me, ye celestial powers ! How first the gods 
and world were made ? The rivers and boundless sea 

1 Chap. xi. ver. 22. 

•^ And this appearance of tlie Universal Idea iu the mind is 
singularly corroborated iu tliat spiritual analysis of ordinary bodies 
whicli Paracelsus and Van llelmout allude to, saying, that by se- 
l)aration of their parts the specific impress is to be perceived iu 
the vessel containing the decomposed spirit, and that the whole 
creature may be als(} resuscitated from thence — these are the words 
of ISIarci, in his Defensio Idearum Operatricium. Quid qua?so di- 
cerunt hi tanti philosophi, si plantam quasi memento nasci iu vi- 
treo vase viderent, cum suis ad vivum coloribus, et rursum inte- 
rire, et renasci, idque quoties, et quaudo luberet ? Credo dae- 
monum arte magica inclusum dicerent illudere seusibus humanis. 
Such an impress liowever,wliether real or fictitiously represented, 
would be but as a secondary vestimeut or witness of that which is 
iu the Archetypal mind creatively efficient. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 365 

with its raging surge ? How the bright shining stars 
and the wide stretched heaven above, and all the 
gods that spring from them, givers of good things ? 
First of all existed Chaos ; next in order the broad 
bosomed Matter ; and then Love appeared, the most 
beautiful of the Immortals. Of Chaos sprung Erebus 
and dusky Night, and of Night came Ether and smihng 

The theogony of Hesiod, though long esteemed a 
mere poetical fiction, was accepted by the ancient phi- 
losophers, who quote his language ; and the Epic Cycle 
is said, by the Platonists, to include the true philosophic 
secret of the creation. And when set in comparison 
with the Alchemical descriptions, the above passage ap- 
pears indeed to be very regular and correct ; as also the 
continued imagery of the poet, indicative of the several 
estates of the Ethereal Quintessences arising one above 
another, called forth by the light and heat of the 
superincumbent mind, as posterity from a common 
parent. Indeed, the more closely we compare the cos- 
mogonies of the ancients, the more consistent do they 
appear one with another, and less so with the common- 
place imagination of things : insomuch that the learned 
have judged them to be copied from some one original, 
or that the Mosaic was the only revealed truth of all. 
We are not disposed to rest anything on our own 
assertion, but neither should we be less inclined to 
reverence the received Scripture, if it should prove, at 
any time, that those agreeing with it, were not bor- 
rowed ; but all originated from the same divine source. 

In the Beginning — in that inane Identity — fi*om that 
silent dead obscurity — when as yet nothing is fashioned 
in the dissolute chasm of life — the Divine Will, then 
alone operating, says the (Cabalistic Interpreter, pro- r\ 
duces itself into a material form and recreation. — Be- - 
hold, I deliver thee of an awful birth and progeny of 
the ever living God, revealed only to the favourites of 
Heaven and ministers of His Mysterious Will.^ 

1 Hesiod, Epic Cycle, The Weeks and the Days. 

2 Blackwell's Mythology, letter vii. 

366 Laws and Conditions. 

And these were a part of the lesson taught by the 
Memphian prophet to the young Asph'ant to the priest- 
hood, even the most hidden mysteries of God's creation. 
And how did he teach? By words merely, or signs, or 
traditional authority ? Or, if none of these can truly 
teach the understanding ; shall we say, more probably, 
by passing it inwards to the evolution of its proper 
mystery, thence to emanate and recreate ? When the 
initiated poet Ovid sat down to write his Fasti, he was 
inspired, as he declares, by that same universal deity of 
the two-faced Janus. 

Me Chaos antiqui, nam res sum prisca, vocabaut. 

Adspice, quam longi temporis acta canam. 
Lucidus bic Aer, et, qua? ti'ia corpora restant. 

Ignis, aquae, tellus, unus acervus erant. 
Ut semel baec rerum secessit lite suarum, 

Inque novas abiit massa soluta domos ; 
riamma petit altum ; propior locus aei-a cepit : 

Sederunt medio terra fretumque solo. 
Tunc Ego, qui fueram globus, et sine imagine moles, 

In faciem redii dignaque membra Deo. 
Nunc quoque, coufusae quondam nota parva figura;, 

Ant^ quod est in me, postque, videtur idem. 
Accipe, qufesitae quae caussa sit altera formae ; 

Hanc simul ut noris, ofBciumque meum; 
Quidquid ubique vides, ccelum, mare, nubila, terras. 

Omnia sunt nostra clausa patentque Manu.^ 

When the primaeval parent Chaos, hoary, as the 
Egyptian figure runs, with unnumbered ages, was first 
moved by the breath of Erebus, she brought forth her 
enormous first-born Hyle, and, at the same portentous 
birth, the amiable Eros, chief of the Immortals. 
They were no sooner come to Light than they pro- 
duced an infinite offspring, various and undefined at 
first, but afterwards fountains of Being. And know, 
consecrated Youth, adds the metropolitan of Mem- 
phis, that ere this fair universe which thou beholdest 
appeared ; ere the sun mounted on high, or the moon 
gave her paler light ; ere the vales were stretched 
out below, or the mountains reared their towering 

^ Ovidii Fastorum, lib. i. 104. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 3G7 

heads; ere the winds began to blow, or plants had 
sprung forth out of the earth ; while the heavens yet 
lay hid in the mighty mass, or ere a star had dart- 
ed to its orb ; the various parts of which this won- /7 
drous frame consists lay^^^d and inform, brood- ?rviynOAJi^ 
ing overwhelmed in the Abyss of Being. There it <y 
had lain for ever, if the breath of the tremendous 
spirit that dwells in the Darkness had not gone forth 
and put the lifeless mass in agitation. 

Si/e hunc divino semine fecit 
Ille opifex reriim, mundi melioris origo : 
Sive recens tellus seductaqiie nuper ab alto 
^there, cognati retinebat semina coeli ; 
Quam satus lapeto mistam fluvialibus undis 
Finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta deorum.^ 

It was then the congenial -^o^s- began to dissever 
from their heterogeneous associates, and to seek a 
mutual embrace : Matter appeared : and inseparable 
from it attraction instantly began to operate, O ! who 
can unfold or sufficiently declare the strife ineffable, 
the unutterable war, that attended their operation.'^ 
— To whom hath the root of Wisdom been revealed, or 
who hath known her wise counsels ? unto whom hath 
the knowledge of Wisdom been made manifest ? and 
who hath understood her great Experience ? There is 
One Wise and greatly to be feared, the Lord sitting 
upon his throne. He created her and numbered her, 
and poured her out upon all his works. She is with 
all flesh according to his gift, and he hath given her 
to them that love him.^ 

And Solomon, with matchless eloquence and beauty 
that remains unrivalled, celebrates the revelation of 
that Living Light which became known to him, with 
the mysteries of universal creation, not by outward 
teaching or rational inference from effects, but by the 
Conscious Intuition, as he relates it, of only night. . oi^t/ 


1 Ovid. Motam., lib i. 

2 Blackwell's Mytliology, letter vii. 
^ Ecclesiasticus, i. G, 7, 8, &c. 

368 Laws and Conditions. 

God hath given to me, says the Wise King, a certain 
knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know 
how the world was made, and the operations of the 
elements. The beginning, ending, and midst of the 
times ; the alterations and turning of the sun ; and the 
changes of the seasons. The circuits of years and 
position of the stars. The natures of living creatures 
and the furies of wild beasts, the violence of winds and 
the reasonings of men ; the diversities of plants and 
the virtues of roots. And all such things as are either 
secret or manifest, them I know. For Wisdom, which 
is the Worker of all things, taught me. In her is an 
U72derstanding spirit — holy, only begotten, manifold, 
subtle, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to 
hurt, loving the thing that is good : quiet, which 
cannot be letted, ready to do good, kind to man, stead- 
fast, free from care, having all power, overseeing all 
things, and going through all understanding, pure and 
most subtle spirits.^ 

And such a Wisdom (shall we not believe it?) 
was the worthy object of all Hermetic Philosophy, 
and the miraculous substance of its transmutativc 
Stone. Or what, do we ask, is the Philosopher's 
Stone ? The philosopher's stone, says the mys- 
terious adeptist, is Ruach Elohim, which moved 
upon the face of the waters, the firmament being in 
the midst, conceived and made body, truly and sensibly, 
in the virgin womb of the greater world, viz., that 
Earth which is without fnin and water. The Son, 
born into the light of the macrocosm, mean and of no 
account in the eyes of the vulgar, consubstantial 
nevertheless, and like his father the lesser world, 
setting aside all idea of anything individually human : 
universal, triune, hermaphrodite ; visible, sensible to 
hearing, to smell, local and finite; made manifest luj 
itself regeneratively by the obstetric hand of the Phy- 
sico-Chemical AjH : glorified in his once assumed body, 
for benefits and uses almost infinite ; wonderfully salu- 
tary to the microcosm and to the macrocosm in uni- 

1 Wiadom of Solomon, vii. 9. 



Manifestation of the Matter. 369 

versal triunity. The Salt of Saturn, the Universal 
son of Nature, has reigned, does reign, and will reign 
naturally and universally in all things ; always and 
everywhere universal through its own fusibility, self- 
existent in nature. Hear and attend ! Salt, that 
most ancient principle of the Stone ; whose nucleus in 
the Decad guard in holy silence. Let him who hath 
understanding understand ; I have spoken it — not 
without weighty cause has Salt been dignified with 
the name of Wisdom : than which, together with the 
Sun, nothing is found more useful.^ 

But what explanation is this ? it will be objected ; 
a baffling about of terms, ignotum jyer ignotiws. Truly, 
and thus it has been the custom of philosophers 
to ring the changes from Wisdom to their Stone, 
and from the Stone to Wisdom, through every ima- 
ginable note and echoing cadence in variation, round to 
the same again : but the world has become no wiser 
for their song. For how hardly should words avail, 
even the most significant, to convey a tangible idea of 
that which is beyond and inverse to all sensible expe- 
rience ; which is neither hard nor soft, nor tangible 
nor visible, nor comprehensible by common sense, 
until thought, by understanding (as light by the focus 
of the familiar lens, producing combustion), has 
brought it forth into effect and flame ? 

Thus considering the inverse problem, analogically 
however, we arrive at a more familiar conception, as 
reason assists the imagination to a solution of its own 
intimate mystery in life. 

The centre of every Being is a spirit from the ori- 
ginal of the world ; and the separation of this is con- 
stantly enacted in generation, whence every creature 
is brought through experience into life and operation. 
And so far we stand even now in the great mystery, 
in the Mother of all Beings ; but by the corporeal, i.e. 
the sensual principle which is predominant in the 
mundane conception, the divine original is obscured 

^.j&d?nrath, Amphitlieat. Sap. Etern., Isag. in fig. 
B B 


370 Laws and Conditions. 

and separated off from the consciousness ; and the indi- 
vidual subsists, as a distinct self-spiration, sevcration, 
or outbirth, as it were, from that Fontal Reason 
whence it springs. But in the regeneration this Rea- 
son is said to be discovered, as, upon the dissolution 
of the natural Ufe, it arises, through the self-perceiv- 
ance, with creative attributes and powers. Let us 
hear the testimony of Hermes concerning his own in- 
timate experience in the divine Poemander, figura tt^dy 
set forth as follows : — 

My thoughts, being once seriously busied about the 
things that be, and my understanding lifted up, — all 
my bodily senses being entirely holden back ; me- 
thought I saw one of an exceeding great stature, and 
infinite greatness, call me by name, and say to me, 
What wouldst thou hear and see ? And what wouldst 
thou understand to learn and know? Then said I, 
Who art thou? I am, quoth he, Poemander, the 
Mind of the Great Lord, the most mighty and abso- 
lute Emperor. I know what thou wouldest have, and 
I am always present with thee. Then, said I, I would 
learn the things that are, and understand the nature of 
them, and know God. How? said he. I answered, 
that I would gladly hear. Then, said he : Have me 
again in thy mind, and whatsoever thou wouldest 
learn, I will teach thee. 

When he had thus said, he was changed i?i his 
Idea or Form, and straightway, in the twinkling 
of an eye, all things were opened to me ; and I saw 
an infinite Light, all things were become Light, both 
siveet and exceeding pleasant. And I was wonder- 
fully dehghted in the beholding it. But after a Httle 
while, there was a darkness made in part, coming 
down obliquely, fearful, and hideous, which seemed 
unto me to be changed into a certain moist nature 
unspeakably troubled, which yielded a smoke, as from 
fire; and there proceeded a voice unutterable, and 
very mournful, but articulate; insomuch, that it 
seemed to have come from the IJglit. Then from 
that Light a certain holy Word joined itself unto 

Manifestation of the Matter. 371 

Nature, and out flew the pure and unmixed fire from 
the moist nature upward on high. It was exceeding 
light, sharp, and operative withal, and the air, which 
was also light, followed the spirit, and mounted up 
with the Fire (from the earth and water created below) 
insomuch, that it seemed to hang and depend upon it ; 
and the earth and ivater stayed by themselves, so 
mingled together, that the earth could not be seen for 
the water ; but they were moved because of the Spi- 
ritual Word that was carried upon them. 

Then said Poemander unto me, Dost thou under- 
stand this, and what it meaneth ? I shall know, said I, 
Then said he, / am that Light, the ]\Iind, thy God, 
who am before that moist nature, that appeared out 
of the darkness, and that bright and hghtfal Word 
from the Mind is the Son of God. How is that? quoth 
I. Thus, replied he, understand it. That which, 
in thee, seeth and heareth the Word of the Lord, and 
the Mind, the Father, God, differ not one from ano- 
ther, and the union of these is life. I thank thee : 
But first, said Poemander, Conceive well the Light in 
thy Mind, and Know It. 

And when he had thus said, for a long time lue 
looked stedfastly one upon the other, insomuch, that 
I trembled at his Idea or Form : But when he nodded 
to me, I beheld in my mind, the Light that is innu- 
merable, and the truly indefinite ornament or world, 
and that the fire is comprehended or contained in 
and by a most great Power, and constrained to keep its 

These things I understood, seeing the Word of 
Pcemander, and when I was mightily amazed, he said 
again unto me; Hast thou seen that Archetypal Form, 
which was before the interminated and infinite be- 
ginning ? But whence, quoth 1, or whereof are the 
elements of nature made ? Of the Will and Counsel of 
God, he answered, ivhich taking the Word and behold- 
ing the beautiful world in the Archetype thereof, imi- 
tated it, and so made this world by the same princi- 
ples and vital seeds, or soul-like production of itself. 

B B 2 

372 Laws and Conditions. 

And straightway, God said to the Holy Word, in- 
crease increasingly, and multiply in multitude, all ye 
my creatures, and workmanships. And let him that 
is endued ivith Alind know himself to be immortal ; 
and that the cause of death is the /o?;e of body, and let 
him learn all things that are of which he is made. 
If therefore thou learn in this way, and believe thy- 
self to be of the Life and Light, thou shalt pass back 
into Life. 

But tell me more, O my Mind ! how I shall go into 
Life J* God saith, let the man endued ivith Mind, mark, 
consider, and knoiv himself well. Have not all men a 
mind? Have a heed what thou sayest, for I, the 
Mind, come into men that are holy and good, and 
pure and merciful, and that live piously and religi- 
ously, and mij presence is a help unto them ; and forth- 
with they know all things, and lovingly, they suppli- 
cate and propitiate the Father, and blessing Him, they 
give Him thanks and sing hymns unto Him ; being 
ordered and directed by tilial affection and natural 
love ; and before they give up their bodies to the death 
of them, they hate their senses, knowing their works 
and operations ; or, rather, I that am the Mind itself, 
will not suffer the works or operations which belong 
to the body to be finished in them ; but being the 
Porter and Door-keeper, 1 shut up the entrance of evil, 
and cut off the thoughtful desires of filthy works. 
But to the foolish, and evil, and wicked, and envious, 
and covetous, and murderers, and profane, / am far 
off, giving place to the revenging Demon, which, apply- 
ing unto him the sharpness of Jire, tormenteth such a 
man sensibly, and armeth him the more to all wicked- 
ness, that he may obtain the gi*eater punishment ; 
and such a one never ceaseth unfulfiUable desires, and 
insatiable concupiscences, and always fighting in dark- 
ness ; for the Demon afflicts and torments him, con- 
tinually increasing the Fire upon him more and more. 

Thou hast, O Mind, said I, most excellently taught 
me all things, as I desired ; but tell me moreover, after 
the return is made, what then? First of all, in the 

Manifestation of the Matter. 373 

resolution of the material body of sense, this body it- 
self is given up to alteration, and the form which it 
hath becometh invisible ; and the idle manners are per- 
mitted and left to the Demon, and the senses of the 
body return into their fountains (in the circulation) ; 
being parts, and are again made up into operations ; 
and anger and concupiscence remain lowest in the ir- 
rational life, and the rest strive upward by harmony ; 
until, being naked of all operations, it cometh to the 
eighth sphere, which is Intellect, having its proper 
power and singing praises to the Father, with the 
things that are. And all they that are present rejoice 
and congratulate the coming of It, being made like 
to Him with whom It converseth ; It heareth also the 
powers that are above the eighth nature, singing 
praises to God in a certain voice that is peculiar to 
them, and then in order they return to the Father 
and to themselves. 

When Poemander had thus said to me, he was 
mingled among the Powers, but I, giving thanks, 
and blessing the Father of all, rose up and being 
enabled by Him, and taught the nature of the Whole, 
and having seen the greatest Spectacle, I began 
to preach unto men the beauty and fairness of piety 
and knowledge ; and, becoming a guide unto many, I 
sowed in them the words of Wisdom. And in my- 
self I wrote the bounty and beneficence of Poemander, 
and being filled with what I most desired, I was ex- 
ceeding glad : — For the sleep of the body was the sober 
watchfulness of the Mind; and the shutting of my eyes 
the true Sight ; and my silence great with child and full 
of good ; and the pronouncing of my words the blos- 
soms and fruits of good things. — And thus it came 
to pass, and happened unto me by Poemander, the Lord 
of the Word, whereby I became inspired by God with 
the Truth. For which cause with my soul and whole 
strength, I give praise and blessing unto God the Fa- 
ther. — Holy is God the Father of all things ! Holy is 
God whose will is performed and accomphshed by His 
own Powers ; Holy is God that determineth to be 

374 Laws and Conditions. 

known; and is known of his own, and those that are 
His ! Holy art thou, that by thy Word hast esta- 
bhshed all things ! Holy art thou, of whom all nature 
is the Image! Holy art thou, whom nature hath not 
formed ! Holy art thou, that art stronger than all 
strength ! Holy art thou, that art greater than all 
excellency ! Holy art thou, that art better than all 
praise ! O thou unspeakable ! unutterable ! to be 
praised in silence. I beseech thee that I may never 
err from the knowledge of thee ; look mercifuUj'' upon 
me and enable me, and enlighten with thy grace all 
that are in ignorance, the brothers of my kind, but thy 
Sons. Therefore I beseech thee, and bear witness, and 
go into the Light and Life. Blessed art thou, O Fa- 
ther ! Thy man would be sanctified with thee, as thou 
hast given him all Power. ^ 

To such testimony we are unable to add anything 
that would render the operative revelation of Intellect 
more obvious, or its experimental knowledge more 
credible to the uninitiated. They who cannot imagine 
will disbelieve without experience ; but others there 
may be, at this day even, in whom the flame of thought 
burns broad and clear, who having within them a sub- 
stantial evidence of the thing hoped for, will believe and 
know too, long before sensible observation shall have 
forced the many to a faith which, in the Intuition 
alone, is blessed. But if any one wish to discover the 
First Principle, according to the doctrine of the an- 
cients, he must be theurgically prepared, and pass 
through many preliminary ordeals, corrosive tests, and 
fiery solutions and dissolutions refining, in order to 
raise himself to That which is the most united in 
nature, and to its Flower, and That through which 
it is Deity ; by which it is suspended from its 
proper fountain, and connects and causes the Uni- 
verse to have a sym})athetic consent with Itself. 
— And if k called them gods unto whom the Word of 

^ The Diviue Poemander of Hermes Trismegistus, book ii. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 375 

God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say 
ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent 
into the world, thou blasphemest, because I said I am 
the Son of God?^ Does not all our unbelief, as the 
common faith, arise in ignorance ? For at present there 
is no profound understanding of the Scriptures ; nor 
does any look, as Agrippa says, under the Bark of the 
Law. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, 
the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it 
shall turn to the Lord, says the Apostle, the veil shall 
be taken away. For the Lord is that Spirit, and 
where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We 
all, with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of 
the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory 
to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.^ — 
Unhappy, truly tlierefore he is said to be, who regards 
the Law as a mere simple recital, or in the light of 
an ordinary discourse, for if in truth it were no- 
thing more than this ; one could even be composed 
at this day more worthy of admiration. In order .. 
to find such mere words, observes the l^abalist, we /\ 
have only to turn to the legislators of this world, ^=^ 
who have frequently expressed themselves with more 
grandeur and grace. It would suffice to imitate them, 
and make expedient laws after their fashion. But 
it is not thus ; each word of the Law has a mean- 
ing and cloaks a mystery entirely sublime. The story 
of the Law is the vestment of the Law ; unhappy he, 
who mistakes the vestment for the Law itself. The 
wise attend not to the outer clothing of things, but to 
the body which it covers ; the sages and servants of 
the Supreme King, those who dwell on the heights of 
Sinai, are occupied only about the Soul, which is the 
basis of all the rest ; which is the Law itself; so that 
they may be prepared at length to contemplate and 
know that Soul which breathes in the Law.^ Without 
which nothing is truly known, whose Experience is All. 

1 St. Jolm's Gospel, x. 

2 1 Corinth, iii. 15, &c. 

^ Zohar, part iii. fol. 152, verso ; Frank, p. 165 ; Origeu Homil. 

7. iu Levit. 

376 Laws and Conditions. 

Moreover, says St. Paul, I would not that ye should 
be ignorant, how that all our Fathers were under the 
cloud, and all passed through the sea ; and were all 
baptized unto iMoses in the cloud and in the sea ; and 
did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink 
the same spiritual drink : for they drank of that spi- 
ritual rock that followed them : and that rock was 

And I advise thee, my son, says the Saint Synesius, 
to make no account of other things ; labour only for 
that Water which burns to blackness, dissolves and 
congeals. It is that which putrefies and causes ger- 
mination, and therefore I advise thee that thou wholly 
employ thyself in the coction of this water, and demur 
not at the expense of time ; otherwise thou shalt gain 
no advantage. Decoct it geiitli/ by little and little, 
until it have changed its false tincture into a perfect 
form of light ; and have great care at the beginning, 
that thou burn not its flowers and its vivacity, and 
make not too much haste to come to an end of thy 
work.*^ Shut thy vessel v;e\\. that it may not breathe out, 
so that thou mayest bring it to some effect ;^ and note 
that to dissolve, to calcine, to tinge, to whiten, to 
renew, to bathe, to wash, to coagulate, to imbibe, to 
decoct, to fix, to grind, to dry and to distil are all one, 
and signify no more, than to decoct nature until such 
time as she be perfected. Note further, that to extract 
the soul, or the spirit, or the body, is nothing else than 
the aforesaid calcinations in regard they signify the 
operation of Venus. It is through the fire of the ex- 
traction of the soul that the spirit comes forth gently ; 
understand me, the same also may be said of the ex- 
traction of the soul out of the body, and the reduction 
of it afterwards upon the same body ; until the whole 
be drawn to a commixion of the four elements, and 
so that which is below, being like that which is above, 
there arc made nuuiifest ttco luviitiaries, the one fixed, 

1 1 Cor. X. \, 2, 3, 4. 

2 See Lumen de Lumine, p. U6. Norton's Ordinal, cap. iii. 
OS-f ^ Eiren^ua's Experiments, at the end of his Eipley Eevived, p. 

f 6, &c, Norton, &c. 

Manifestation of the Matter, 377 

the other not ; whereof the fixed which is the male 
remains below, and the volatile remains above, moving 
itself perpetually, until that which is below rises upon 
that which is above, and all being substantiated, there 
then issues forth an incomparable Luminary.^ 

That was the Experiment that led our Fathers into 
Experience, and illumination in the Divine Antecedent 
of all life. And if experience be truly, as it is said 
to be, the proper test of philosophy, then was not 
tlieirs the right and true philosophy with Christian 
regeneration for its most worthy end ? That was the 
Art of Democritus commemorated by Lord Bacon in 
a passage before quoted, but which, for its value's sake 
ac well aa on account of the notoriety ^, w^e take leave 
to recite — That if any skilful minister of nature shall 
apply force to matter, and by design torture and vex 
it in order to its annihilation, it, on the contrary, being 
brought under this necessity, changes and transforms 
itself into a strange variety of shapes and appearances ; 
so that at length, running through the whole circle of 
transformations and completing its period, it restores 
itself, if the force be continued. And that method of 
binding, torturing, and detaining will prove most effec- 
tual and expeditious which makes use of manacles and 
fetters ; that is to say, lays hold of and works upon 
matter in the extremest degrees,^ That is, in the last 
exigence of life ; when it is about to be born again from 
out the oblivion of this w^orld and its defilements, by 
attraction of the recreative Light within. 

Then she is Isis, the Divine I am, by the Greeks 
called Myrionymous, or the goddess with a thousand 
names ; hereby to denote the capacity with which such 
a Matter is endowed of understanding, and of being 
converted to all or any of the Forms or degrees of 
specific Law, which it may please the Supreme Reason 
to impress upon her. As respects herself, she is 
Nothing; — no one apostate particular, — neither animal 

1 From Synesius' True Book concerning the Philosopher's 
Stone, in fine. 

'^ Bacon's Wisdom of the Ancients, Fable of Proteus. 

378 Laws and Conditions. 

nor vegetable nor mineral apart ; but, — pre-existent to 
them all, — she is the mother of all; and her birth, ac- 
cording to the Adepts, is singular and not without a 
miracle. Her very complexion is miraculous and dif- 
ferent from every other whatsoever, and that which 
she brings forth by the Fire of nature lawfully conceived, 
is Orus, the Philosophic Sun. And hence, and from 
the whole above, we may have gathered some approxi- 
mating idea of the multinominal goddess appearing as 
she was described by the initiated, who celebrated her 
Mysteries in the Eleusinian fane, and further, as fol- 
lows, by one of the no less intimately experienced 
fraternity of the Rosy Cross. 

I am a Goddess for beauty and extraction, famous, 
born out of our oivn proper sea, which compasseth the 
whole earth, and is ever restless. Out of my breasts 
I pour forth milk and blood ; boil these two till they 
are turned into silver and gold. O, most excellent sub- 
ject ! out of which all things in the world are generated, 
though at the first sight, thou art poison adorned with 
the name of the flying eagle ; thou art the First 
JMatter ; the Seed of Divine benediction, in whose bod if 
there is heat and ra'ui ; which notwithstanding are 
hidden from the icicked, because of thy habit and 
virgin vestures, which are scattered over the whole 
world. Thy parents are the Sun and Moon (philoso- 
phical) ; in thee there is irate r and ivifie, and go/d also, 
and silver upon the earth, that mortal man may re- 
joice. After this manner God sends us his blessing 
and wisdom with rain, and the beams of the sun, to 
the eternal glory of his name. But consider, O man, 
what things God bestows upon thee by these means. 
Torture the Eagle till she iveeps ; and the Lion being 
weakened, bleeds to death. The blood of this Lion in- 
corporated with the tears of the Eagle is the treasure 
of the whole earth. These creatures used (in their 
circulatory course) to devour and kill one another ; but 
notwithstanding this their love is mutual, and they 
put on the property and nature of a Salamander ; 
which, if it remains in the fire without any detriment, 

Manifestation of the Matter. 379 

cures all the diseases of men and metals. After that 
the ancient philosophers had perfectly understood this 
subject, tliey diligently sought in this mystery, for the 
centre of the middlemost tree in the Terrestrial Para- 
dise, entering in by fee litigious gates. The first gate 
was the knoivledge of the true matter, and here arose 
the first, and that a most bitter conflict. The second 
was the preparation by which the matter was to be 
qualified, that they might obtain the embers of the 
eagle and the blood of the lion. At this gate there is 
a most sharp fight, for it produceth water and blood, 
and a spiritual bright body. The third gate is the 
Jire which conduceth to the maturity of the medicine. 
The fourth gate is that of multiplication and augmen- 
tation in which proportions and weights are necessary. 
The fifth and last gate is projection. But most glo- 
rious, full, rich, and highly elevated is he who at- 
tains but to the fourth gate ; for he has got an uni- 
versal medicine for all diseases. This is the great 
character of the book of Nature, out of which 
her whole alphabet doth arise. The fifth gate serves 
only for metals. This mystery, existing from the 
foundation of the world and the creation of Adam, is 
of all others the most ancient ; a knowledge which 
God Almighty, by his Word, breathed into nature; a 
miraculous power, the blessed Fire of Life ; the trans- 
parent carbuncle and red gold of the Wise men, and 
the divine benediction of this life. But this mystery, 
because of the malice and wickedness of men, is given 
only to few ; notwithstanding it lives and moves every 
day in the sight of the whole world, as it appears also 
by the following parable : — 

I am a poisonous dragon, present everywhere, and 
to be had for nothing. My water and my fire dissolve 
and compound ; out of my body thou shalt draw the 
green and red lion : but if thou dost not exactly know 
me, thou wilt with my fire destroy thy Jive senses. A 
most pernicious quick poison comes out of my nostrils, 
which hath been the destruction of many. Separate, 
therefore, the thick from the thin art'Jicially, unless 

380 Laws and Conditions. 

thou dost delight in extreme poverty. I give thee 
faculties both male and female, and the powers both of 
heaven and earth. The mysteries of my art are to be 
performed magnan'imoudy and with great courage, if 
thou wouldest have me overcome the violence of the 
Jire, in which attempt many have lost their labour and 
their substance. / am the Egg of Nature, known 
onlij to the Wise, such as are pious and modest, who 
make of me a little world. Ordained was I, by the 
Almighty God, for men ; but though many desire me, 
I am given only to a few^, that they may relieve the 
poor with my treasures, and not set their mind on 
gold i\\(it perisheth. I am called of the philosophers 
Mercury : my husband is Gold philosojjhical. I am 
the Old Dragon that is present everywhere on the face 
of the earth. I am father and mother, youthful and 
antique, weak yet powerful, life and death, visible and 
invisible, hard and soft, descending to the earth and 
ascending to the heavens, most high and most low, 
light and heavy. In me the order of nature is often- 
times inverted in colour, number, weight, and mea- 
sure. I am, within, the Light of nature; I am dark and 
bright ; I spring from the earth and I come out of 
heaven ; I am well known and yet a mere nothing ; all 
colours shine in me and all metals, by the beams of 
the Sun ; I am the carbuncle of the Sun, a most noble 
clarified Earth, by which thou mayest turn copper, 
iron, tin, and lead into most pure gold.^ 

Involve we then our thoughts, if we would intrin- 
sically conceive the wonderful Nature that is set before 
us ; and in however small a proportion the grain of 
faith be naturally allotted, if it be but real, let us be- 
lieve in it, and nourish and educate, that it may 
increase with knowledge, and finally prove its own 
reward in practical experience : without faith, without 
the ideal conception, nothing is or can be proven ; for 
is not this, in fact, the leader of all experimental in- 
quiry? The faith we invite is no blind credulity, but 

^ As g;iven in tlie Coelum Terrse of Vaughan, from the Latin 
original of the Fraternity. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 381 

such a liberty of thought, as, bearing its own evidence 
independently of common observation, can glance be- 
yond this boundary into the integral probability of 
Life. Such a faith, however small or insufficient of 
itself, will lead on, by a proper pursuit, unto the thing 
hoped for, and bring to evidence the occult Causality 
of Nature : and be it for gold, then, or science, or health, / / 

or higher purity and wisdom ,^ie is inquiring on this a ^^ 
basis — w^e repeat it — the percipient right-believer will 
not be deceived. 

The Matter of all things is One and proved simple 
in the experience ; throughout all her various manifes- 
tations — as agent, patient, hot, cold, dry, moist ; by 
whatever colour, quality , or species designated — whether 
singular or plural in manifestation, Nature remains 
one and the same Unknown Identity through all ; • /? ^ 

neither water, air, earth nor gold is a &-€oaapi feeti8^ czyt/^CTLUt 
bat every tyro in chemistry concludes they are no ele- 
ments ; but Her, the true element, they have never 
found ; for she eludes their tests and closest vessels ; 
all except those of her own ethereally wise construction, 
in which she bears her Universal Offspring, hermeti- 
cally sealed through the flood and wreck of this dis- 
solute existence to a resurrection always glorious, and 
immortal at last. 


Nec vir, nee mulier, nee androgyna, 
Nee puella, nee juvenis, nee anus, 
Nee easta, nee meretrix, nee pudiea, 

Sed omnia ! 
Sublata neque fame, neque ferro, neque 
Veneno, sed omnibus ! 
Nee coelo, nee terris, nee aquis, 

Sed ubique jacet ! 


,Nec maritus, nee amator, nee neeessarius, 
Neque moerens, neque gaudens, neque flens, 

Neque molem, neque pyramidem, neque sepulerum, 

Sed omnia/ 
Seit et neseit eui posuerit^ 
Hoe est sepulerum certe, cadaver 
Non habens, sed cadaver idem, 

Est et sepulerum ! 

382 Laws and Conditions. 

iELiA l.i;lia crispis. 
Nor male, nor female, nor hermaplirodite, 
Nor virgin, woman, young or old. 
Nor chaste, nor liarlot, modest liiglit. 

But all of tlicm you're told — 
Not killed by poison, famine, sword, 
But eacli one had its share, 
Not in heaven, earth, or water broad 

It lies, but everywhere ! 


No husband, lover, kinsman, friend, 

Eejoicing, sorrowing at life's end. 

Knows or knows not, for whom is placed 

This — what ? This pyramid, so raised and graced, 

This grave, this sepulchre ? 'Tis neither, 

'Tis neither — but 'tis all and each together. 

Without a body I aver, 

This is in truth a sepulchre ; 

But notwithstanding, I proclaim 

Both corpse and sepulchre the same ! 

All is identical — need we repeat it ? — ^in the Uni- 
versal Identity, and every possible assertion of it will 
be true, and the reverse in annihilation. All life, 
body, soul, and spirit — the three hypostatic relations — 
are born in it, one out of another ; conjoin, die, and are 
mortified, one within the other ; are fortified and in- 
creased, the one by the other ; differing only, in respect 
«tib^fr oneetf tlie other, as agent, patient, and that 
universal offspring which is the All in all, without 
foreign admixture: as it is written, — Thou hast dis- 
posed all things, in number, and weight, and measure. — 
For these are the length, and breadth, and profundity 
of Nature, which the Spirit in her emanative Law dis- 
plays ; from the point proceeding into the line, from 
the root into the square superficies, and from the 
square by multiplication into that cubic form which is 
the supernatural foundation of the New physical Whole. 

The battle's fought, the conquest won, 

The Lyon dead revived ; 
The Eagle's dead which did him slay. 

And both of sense deprived. 
The showers cease, the dews, which fell 

For six weeks, do not rise ; 
Tlie ugly toad, that did so swell, 

With swelling, bursts and dies. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 383 

The Argent field with. Or is stained, 

With violet intermixed ; 
The sable blacJce is not disdained 

Which shows the spirit's fixed ; 
The compound into atoms turned, 

The seeds together blended, 
Tlie flying soul to th' earth returned, 

The soaring bird descended. 
Tlie king and queen contumulate, 

And joined as one together. 
That which before was two by fate 

Is tyed, which none can sever. 
Tlie king is brother to his wife, 

And she to him is mother ; 
One father is to both, whose life 

Depends upon each other. 
The one when dead, the other dies, 

And both are laid in grave ; 
The coffins one in which both lies, 

Each doth the other save : 
Tet each the other doth destroy, 

And yet both are amended ; 
One without th' other hath no joy. 

Both one, of one descended. 
Twice forty days do come and go, 

To which twice five are added ; 
These do produce a perfect crow, 

Whose blackness cheers hearts sadded ; 
Twice fifteen more produce a dove, 

Whose wings are bright and tender ; 
Twice ten more make the so^d above 

To need no fire defender ; 
For soul and body so combine. 

The spirit interceding, 
Tincture to give of silver fine, 

The sold, the body, inleading. 
Also such fixity to add 

Against the flames prevailing, 
Which may the chymist make full glad, 

The sophist er still failing, 
Who seeks infancies for to find 

Our Art so much concealed, 
Not duly weighing in his mind 

That 't is a fountain sealed, 
Which one thing only can unlocke ; 

This one thing learn to know. 
Lest you the same event should mock, 

That these same lines do show.^ 

^ Eirenrfus's Eipley Revived, p. 188, &c. 


384 Laws and Conditions. 

The same tradition of the manifold powers and 
preservation of the One Thing runs in symhol 
throughout the Gentile Mythology, and the Arkite 
Mysteries have reference to the physical secret of the 
regeneration throughout. The god, dead and revived, 
is a principal character in all their ceremonial rites — 
Cadmillus amongst the Cabiri, Atys in Phrygia, 
Adonis in Lydia, Osiris amongst the Egyptians. 

Once too by Thee, as sacred poets sing, 

The heart of Bacchus, swiftly slaughtered king. 

Was saved in iEther when, by fury fired, 

The Titans fell against his life conspired ; 

And with relentless rage and thirst for gore 

Their hands his members into fragments tore. 

But ever watchful on thy Father's will, 

Thy power preserved him from succeeding ill, 

Till from the secret counsels of his Sii'e, 

And born from Semele thro' heavenly fire. 

Great Dionysius to the world at length 

Again appeared with renovated strength. 

Once too thy warlike axe with matchless sway 

Lopped from their savage necks the heads away 

Of furious beasts, and thus the pests destroyed 

Which long all-seeing Hecate annoyed. 

By thee benevolent, great Juno's might 

AVas roused to furnish mortals with delight ; 

And thro' life's wide and various range 'tis thine. 

Each part to beautify with arts di\dne. 

Invigorated hence, by thee we find 

A demiurgic impulse in the mind ; 

Towers proudly raised and for protection strong, 

To thee dread guardian Deity belong. 

As proper symbols of th' exalted height, 

Thy series claims amidst the courts of Light. ^ 

All the heroes are reported to have passed through 
an ordeal of the same kind ; — Cadmus, Deucalion, 
Osiris, Bacchus, Hercules, Orpheus, &c. — and to have 
gained wonderful powers and advantages thereby. 
All their adventures, indeed, are so many records of 
the difficulties and dangers that the soul must endure 
overcoming her household enemies within the strong- 

' Proclus'a Hymn to Minerva, by Taylor, in his Sallnst. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 385 

hold of life. Nor are they few, but many and fearful 
ones that have to be encountered ; for those passions, 
desires, vices, which to our deadened conscience are 
trifling and palliable, when viewed within the senses' 
prison, by the revealed light of equilibriate justice, are 
monstrous ; and, without )( metaphor, in their imaged 
atmosphere appear terrific : and in the divine lan- 
guage of Poemander, do force the inwardly placed man 
to suffer sensibly. For they do not suddenly depart, 
or easily, even from him in whom the exemplary 
virtue is revealed ; but, as we may remember in the 
early tradition of the Mysteries, the material inflictors 
are roused to vengeance by the decrees of fate against 
the rebels of her laws ; nor is it any trifling exertion 
which the will has to make to overcome the compact 
which it has made with sense ; but herein consists the 
meritorious struggle of the powers, until, by artificial 
force of heat and exhalation, the Light, so long 
hidden and enshrined in the Archeus, comes forth 
as a dry splendour, surviving through all. And 
this is that Tincture of the Sapphiric Mine before 
alluded to, and that Subtendent which is found se- 
minally equal to the whole of the parts whence it is 
derived. In hdc aqua rosa latet hiejiie ; in this 
water, when destruction has done its worst with the 
elements of life, the principle of all is artificially pre- 
served, as Noah in the ark, who, surviving, was able 
to renew all things out of the remnant of creation that 
was saved therein ; that elect remnant, worthy the 
sacrifice that was made even of the whole corruptible 
humanity, that has power to reproduce all and each 
with tenfold perfection and increase out of itself. 

Thus Wisdom is the perpetual theme of early 
poetry, and though unknown to modern philosophy, the 
ground of ancient science ; of theology, the true End 
and proper subject of Divinity. For this Wisdom is 
the vehicle of the Catholic Reason in Identity, the 
bearer and measure of the Demiurgic Fire — that Fire 
which the sensual conception occultates, and so for- 

c c 

386 Laws and Conditions. 

cibly restricts, that man does not suspect it even ; 
but in his wiUing thraldom, fancies himself at hberty, ^ 
not knowing in truth what it is to be free i\when, the S- 
integral efficience of this Identity set in motion, 
effects follow the voluntary Axle in a necessitous full 
accord. — That was Free Will, not the motiveless chi- 
mera which human fancy has been prone to coin, but 
the operative Almighty Magnet freed from Tartarean 
bondage and obscurity, and drawn upward to the glo- 
rious consciousness of the revolving Light above. 

And the whole secret of this discovery, it would 
seem, consists in the sanguinary circulation of the 
Vital Spirit ; in which there is a threefold Law, as 
before explained, which has to be revolutionized also 
in three periods ; called by the Alchemists, for certain 
accurate reasons, Altitude, Latitude, and Profundity: 
Altitude and Profundity, being united at their extreme 
poles, make Latitude; and so the wheel of Life is 
turned about : the Profundity is the subjective life, the 
w^ater that is below; the Altitude is the objective 
Light, the «tfeam that is above; and the conflux of 
these two is in a Calx, out of which, as from a rocky 
fountain, the physical TETRACTi'S springs through the 
contrite experience into life, with attributes prolific 
and enduring fruits. 

That was the Water so much magnified by the wise 
Adepts, the miraculous product of the spiritual poles 
of mind in sublime conjunction at their source ; this 
was their St ilia ?'o?is, Lac Vh^gi}ns, Elixir, Aqua Vitce 
Azoth, Prima JlJateria Lapis ct Reins, regenerate in its 
once assumed body, visible, tangible, and sensible to 
every sense, local and finite, made manifest of itself 
regeneratively, by the obstetric hand of the physico- 
chemical art for benefits and uses almost infinite. 

Fresher liquor there is none to taste, 
And it will never consume nor waste ; 
Tho' it be occupied evermore, 
Tt will never be less in store ; 

Manifestation of the Matter. 387 

Which Democrit named to his intent, 
Lux umbra carens. Water most orient ; 
And Hermes said, no liquor so necessary, 
As was water of crude Mercury : 
And this shall stand, said that noble clerke, 
For the Water within our werke.^ 

Another Tablet is here which Philosophy y- upoj»~ft (Tyl^^-S^ 
l^mo gratofi ;^ erected to the memory of her early 

Blessed be thou. Experience ! 

Full mighty is thy Influence, 

Thy wondrous works record full well, 

In world of worlds where thou dost dwell ; 

In earth, in heaven, and in hell. 

That thou art the very same, 

That didst from nothing all things frame ; 

Wherefore, now blessed T^ thy name ! 

By whose pm*e and simple Light, 

All creation sprung forth Bright, 
Flames and floods began to roar. 
And to present their hidden store 
Of spirits, that sing evermore, 
All glory and magnificence. 
All humble thanks and reverence, 
Be given to Experience ! 

To that most Sapient, 

The High Omnipotent ! 
That said, Be It, and it was done. 
Our earth, oui* heaven, were begun ; 
I am, quoth she, the most in might, 
In word, in life, and eke in light, 
In mercy and in judgment right. 
The Depth is mine, so is the Hight, 
The Cold, the Hot, the Moist, the Dry, 
Where all in all is, there Am I. 
What thing can tell when I began, or where I make an end, 
Wherewith I wrought, and what I mought, or what I did intend 

To do, when I had done 

The work I had begun ? 
For when my Being was alone, 
One Thing I made when there was none ; 
A mass confused and darkly clad, 
That in itself, all Nature had 
To form and shape the good and bad ; 
And then, as time began to fall, 

^ See Norton's Ordinal, chap. iv. 

c c 2 

388 Laws and Conditions. 

It pleased me the same to call. 

The first Material Mother of all. 
And from that lump divided I foure sundry elements, 
Whom I commanded for to reigne in divers regiments ; 
In kind they did agree, 
But not in qualitye. 

Whose simple substance I did take, 

My seat invisible to make ; 

And of the qualities compound, 

I made the starry sky so round, 

With living bodies on the ground, 

And blessed them infinitely, 

And bade them grow and multiply ! 
One Thing was first employed, 
Which shall not be destroyed ; 

It compasseth the world so round, 

A matter easy to be found : 

And yet most hard to come by : 

A secret of secrets pardye, 

That is most vile and least set by. 

But it's my love and darling, 

Conceived with all living thing, 

And travels to the world's ending. 
A childe begetting his own Father, and bearing hys Mother, 
Killing himself to give life and light to all other, 
Is that I meane, 
Most mild and most extreme. 

Did not the world that dwelt in me 

Take form and walk forth visibly ; 

And did not I then dwell in It, 

That dwelt in me for to unite, 

Three Powers in one seat to sit.^ 

And these are the Three continually noted in Al- 
chemy, the Sulphur and Mercury and Salt, the active 
and the passive, and the resulting experience of life. The 
first, in the regeneration, is the Word of God indepen- 
dent without all human will, miraculously conceived 
and confessed divine in the new birth : The second is 
of the Humanity, i. e. of the selfhood, prepared and 
sanctified ; and the result of these two in union is the 
Bodily Substance of things thenceforth created. By 
a severance from real being, non-being, that is to say 
Matter, is produced ; and the sacrifice that is gratefully 

1 See Ashmole's Theat., page 336 ; Experience and Philosophr. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 389 

provided of the material nature in their reunion, as 

supplying body to the Divine, excites the Powers to 

participation, conceives them when they accede, and 

consciously unfolds them into visibility and act. And 

hence we may be enabled to conceive perhaps, in a 

measure at least, how the microcosmical tradition 

arose, how the human hypostasis becomes, through 

a self-perceivance, into universal intelligence, and of ^ 

its own voluntary resignation, If the nothingness of /ki-^o-^-v/ 

self oblivion, to be the All, precedent to that wherein 

is all. For with the desire of rest and contact, there 

is a power of accession, and with accession a suffi- 

cience, operative and universal. 

Come and see, says the Rabbi in Zohar, Thought is 
the Principle of all that is ; but it is at first Unknown 
and shut up in itself When the Thought begins to 
develope itself forth, it arrives at that degree when it 
becomes Spirit. Arrived at this estate, it takes the \ 

name of Intelligence, and is no longer as before it was 
shut up in itself. The Spirit, in its turn, developes 
itself in the bosom of the mystery with which it is sur- 
rounded ; and there proceeds a voice which is the 
reunion of the celestial choirs, a voice which rolls 
forth in distinct utterance articulate, for It comes from 
the Mind.i 

Thought is the principle of all that is. Mag- 
nificent, yet impervious assertion, shall we say ? or 
what conceptive height may struggle to confirm it? 
What imagination strong or hardy enough to glance 
into the full faith ? To Be the Understanding of that 
Light, of which all Nature is the Efflux, to move One 
with the First Mover, and Be His Will, who is at once 
the Antecedent and Final Cause of all? We cannot, 
profanely as we live without the knowledge of our- 
selves, attain to the Divine Idea; either to entertain or 
think It self-actively is impossible. For the Thought 
which is of God creative is the inversion of our 

^ Part i. 246 verso ; Frank, part ii. p. 191. 

390 Laws and Conditions. 

thought ; and to know Him in It is self-annihilation in 
the life which is eternal. 

Yet if thou wilt even break the Whole, instructs 
Pnemander, and see those things that are without the 
world, thou mayest. Behold how great power and 
swiftness thou hast ! Consider that which contains all 
things, and understand that nothing is more capacious, 
than that which is incorporeal, nothing more swift, 
nothing more powerful ; but it is most capacious, most 
swift, and most strong. And judge of this by thyself, 
assimilating, for the like is intelligible by the like. 
Increase thyself into an immeasurable greatness, leap- 
ing beyond eveiy body, and transcending time, become 
Eternity, and thou shalt understand God. If thou 
art able to believe in thyself, that nothing is impos- 
sible, but perceivest thyself to be immortal, and that 
thou canst understand all things, every art, every 
science, and the manner and custom of every living 
thing ; become higher than all height, lower than all 
depth, comprehend in thyself the qualities of all the 
creatures ; of the fire, the water, the dry, and the moist, 
and conceive likewise that thou canst at once be every- 
where, in the sea and in the earth : Thou shalt at once 
understand thyself, not yet begotten, in the womb, 
young, old, to be dead, the things after death and all 
these together, as also times, places, deeds, qualities, 
or else thou canst not yet understand God. But if 
thou hast shut up thy soul in the body, to abuse it ; 
and say, I understand nothing, I can do nothing, I am 
afraid of the sea, I cannot climb up into Heaven, I 
know^ not who I am, I cannot tell what I shall be ; 
what hast thou to do w^ith God? For thou canst 
understand none of those fair and good things, and It 
is the greatest evil not to know God. But to be able 
to know, and to will, and to hope, is the straight w^ay 
and the divine way proper to the Good ; and it will 
meet thee everywhere thereafter and everywhere be 
seen of thee, plain and easy, even when thou dost no 
longer expect or look for it. It will meet thee waking. 

Manifestation of the Matter. 391 

sleeping, sailing, travelling by night and by day, when 
thou speakest and when thou keepest silence. For 
there is nothing which is not the Image of God.^ 

But the exemplary Logos is hidden, — slain from 
the foundation in the exterminating fiat of our Iden- 
tity ; and the occultation of this does not take place 
therefore, but in two poles or principles diametrically 
reverse. We must pass the eternal wheel of the vicis- 
situdes of things, from the manifest created individu- 
ahty, back into the Initial germ ; through all ages, all 
revolutions and the infinitude of soul experience, until 
Hfe, as an ocean tide flowing to its extreme boundary, 
returns to refund its treasury again in its First Source. 
Most mighty and surpassing magic of Reflection. — 
And thou august Mother of all things, Divine Ex- 
perience. — Thought emanating Light, as by Intelli- 
gence excruciated. Life springs forth with motion, 
feeling itself to Be. — In the which affirmation, in the jy / /) // 
Divine I am, is by the Cabal signified the Substant ^otJ^i^tU^^ 
Unity of all that is ; the fountain of Universal Na- 
ture and her Exemplary Law, the source of so 
many miracles and magical accordances, as of every 
natural and supernatural increase — where Experience 
is present with Power, and Efi^ect in substance to bear 
them witness — where Wisdom is poured forth like 
Water and Glory faileth not before Him for 

For visibles here are said verily to spring out of 
that which is invisible, as from the precedent no- 
thingness Something is produced ; and thus the 
recreation was seen to be a stupendous metaphysical 
birth out of the Infinite into Light, according to that 
notable saying of the Sybil in Boissard, 

Yerbum intisibile fiet palpabile et geeminabit ut Eadix. 

Ought we not therefore to take That which is impal- 
pable and imperfectly conceived at first, and work 

^ Hermes' Divine Poemander, book s. 

392 Laws and Conditions. 

faithfully, as the philosopher tells us, until it be the 
Divine pleasure to make it appear ; to dissolve, coagu- 
late, resolve, refine, and regulate, until Reason becoming 
a bright Light in the periphery of her fiery essence 
remains immortal, and is the Mistress of Life. 


And here the External and Internal World? were 
seen to blend together in confluent harmony, proving 
and establishing each other, and leaving reason nothing 
more to doubt of, or the senses to desire, but a fulfil- 
ment under the Universal Law. 



Of the Mental Requisites and Impediments incidental 
to Individuals either as Masters or Students in the 
Hermetic Art. 

Quserunt Alchimiam falsi quo que recti, 
Falsi sine numero, sed hi sunt rejecti ; 
Et cupiditatibus, lieu ! tot sunt iufecti, 
Quod inter mille, millia, vix sunt tres electi 
Istam ad scientiam. 

Norton's Ordinal, Proheme. 

TO those whom indmation has led thus far, with 
a benevolent sphit, to the Inquiry, it may appear 
no trifling object that we are in pursuit of, or irra- 
tional, if we may help to recover the Ancient Experi- 
ment of Nature into her Causal Light : nor, let us be 
assured, will a few short years of study or idle handling 
of the Matter, be sufficient to admit a man to the 
arcana of Hermetic science. Neither does it follow (and 
which is more to be regretted), that because all men 
have the material and live by it, that every one is 
therefore fitted to handle the same, or able to im- 
prove, promote, and profit by it in the manner here 
proposed. Few, we fear, judging by our own ob- 
servation, and very few according to the testimony of 
more experienced observers, are endowed with a dis- 
position naturally adapted towards this peculiar re- 
search ; for that it is pecuhar and distinct fi*om every 
other branch of philosophy, may, without a more 
lengthening demonstration, have become apparent. 
To save fruitless labour, therefore, and deter the idle, 
it may be well to learn at once, before we enter on 
the routine of Practice, what the impediments are, and 
those mental endowments most insisted on, for se- 
curing success in the experimental pursuit. 

Geber, who, in his Sum of Perfection, writes at 

394 Laws and Conditions. 

length, and better than many, on this head, excludes 
several classes, which may serve as a foundation for de- 
veloping the defects of each. Natural Impotency, he 
asserts, is manifold, and may proceed partly from the 
physical defects of the artist, and partly from his soul ; 
for either the organ may be weak or wholly corrupted, 
or the soul in the oi'gan having nothing of rectitude or 
reason in itself; or because it is fantastical, imduly 
susceptive of the contrary of forms, and suddenly ex- 
tensive fi'om one thing knowable to its opposite, 
without discrimination. If a man have his faculties 
therefore so incomplete, he cannot come to the com- 
pletion of this work ; no more either than if he were 
sick, or blind, or wanting in his limbs, because he is 
helped by those members, by mediation of ivhich like- 
wise, as ministering to nature, this art is perfected. 
And further on, respecting the Impediments of Mind, 
the Arabian continues, He that hath not a natural 
sagacity and soul, searching suhtly, and scrutinizing 
natural principles, the Fundamentals of Nature, and 
Artifices which can follow Nature in the properties of 
her action, cannot find the true Radix of this most 
precious science. As there be many who have a stij/' 
neck, void of ingenuity and every sort of perscrutina- 
tion. Besides these, we find many who have a soul 
easily opinionating every phantasy ; but that which 
they believe to be truth is all imagination, deviating 
from reason, full of error, and remote from natural 
Law ; because their brain is replete with fumosities , it 
cannot receive the true intention of natural things. 
There be also, besides these, others who have a soul 
moveable from opinion to opinion, and from will to 
will ; as those who suddenly believe a thing and will 
the same, without any ground at all of ?'eason ; and a 
little after do believe another thing, and accordingly 
will another. And these, being so changeable, can ill 
accomplish the least of what they intend : but rather 
leave it defective. There be, moreover, others who 
cannot discern any truth at all to look after in natural 
things, no more than beasts ; others again, who con- 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 395 

demn this science and believe it not to be ; whom, in 
hke manner and together with the rest, this science 
contemns and repels from the accomplishment of 
this most pious work. And there are some besides, 
who are slaves, loving money, who do affirm this to 
be indeed an admirable science, but are afraid to in- 
terposit the necessary charges. Therefore, although 
they approve, and according to reason, have sought the 
same, yet to the experience of the work they attain 
not, through covetousness of money. Therefore our 
science comes not to them. For how can he who is 
ignorant or neghgent in the pursuit of Truth, other- 
wise attain it ? ^ 

Now, if some of these should appear forced, or 
rather fanciful obstacles to the pursuit of science, we 
pray the reader to consider their application more 
closely, and whether, by particularizing, w^e may be 
able to discover their real drift. And to begin with 
this first and last defect of Avarice ; those mammon- 
worshippers appear indeed formerly to have believed 
but too much ; j±ei^ that miserable division of them 
©siy who sought in ignorance, from inert matter, 
without a ray of light to guide their benighted hopes. 
Thew did but small harm comparatively, it ^Tnot they 'Cv~&^ 
who^^ so greatly obnoxious to philosophy, -fe^^rnay 
be rather compassionated for their folly, who found""' 
nothing but loss and disappointment in exchange for 
years of patient and expectant labour. There have 
been others, far more blameworthy, tl%ft ^ H4io f ^: ^ and 
more fallacious, against whom the true adepts have 
unanimously declaimed ; depraved minds, that having 
entered, as Geber implies, by the right way of reason, 
forsook her guidance nevertheless, and basely en- 
tangling the clue of life, climbed by it into forbidden 
regions of self-sufficiency, and in the open face of 
Truth, stole her young hopes, the first-fruits of her 
divining growth, and slew her there. 

^ Summa Perfect, lib. i. cap. iii. 

396 Laws and Conditions. 

Mammon led them on ; 
Mammon that least erected spirit that fell 
From heaven, for e'en in heaven his looks and thonghts 
Were always downward bent, admiring more 
The riches of heaven's pavement-trodden floor 
Than ought divine or holy else enjoyed 
In vision beatific.^ 

These are they who have been held in abhorrence 
by the good in all ages ; who, having succeeded in in- 
ducing an exalted energy, have wilfully denied the 
Light its true fulfilment, and substituting their own 
hasty purpose instead of the Divine, defiled it ; com- 
pelling the Spirit to their private ends. And what 
will not the subject soul suffer when pressed by so 
execrable an evil? For such is the constitution of 
things, that it must either be filled with a superior 
or inferior power ; and as the former is the reward 
of piety and proximate to the Final Cause, the 
latter is the punishment of the impious who defile the 
divine part of their essence, insinuating an evil spirit 
in the place of the Divine. ^ — They have discovered se- 
crets, says the prophet, and they are those who have 
been judged : for they know every secret of the 
angels, ev^ery oppressive and secret power of devils, 
and every power of those who commit sorcery, as well 
as of those who make molten images in the whole 
earth. They know lioiv silver is produced from the 
dust of the earth, and how, on earth, the metallic drop 
exists ; for lead and tin are not ]:)roduced from the 
earth as the primary fountain of their production. 
There is an angel standing upon it, and that angel 
struggles to prevail. They have discovered secrets, 
and these are they who are to be judged -^ who have 
turned the discovery of nature to an ill account ; and 
these are they to whom Geber alludes, who do ajjirm 
this to be indeed an admirable science, and have sought 
it also according to reason, yet could 7iot enter into the 

1 Paradise Lost, book i. 

2 Book of Enoch, cap. Ixiv. sect. ii. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 397 

experience, being afraid in their own persons to inter- 
posit the necessary charges, i. e. to abandon the life of 
selfhood, and return the product to a benevolent and 
truthful end. Just to the pomt, we have the story of 
an Arabian Magician, who must needs steal a little 
boy, to go with him to the mountain, in order to sup- 
ply the material his own wickedness did not suffer him 
to approach. 

No impure leaven (need we repeat it ?) can enter into 
Wisdom ; she scorns to promote folly in any guise, 
much less will she suffer defilement at man's finite 
hand. But if anything be done against the right of 
nature, she forsakes the polluted tabernacle and is lost. 
Know, likewise, says the pious author of the Aquarium, 
that if by reason of that gift vouchsafed to thee by 
God, thou happen thereupon, even after thou hast it, 
to wax proud or be covetous, under whatever cover of 
false pretence, and dost hereby tempt thyself to a 
turning away from God, by little and little ; know, for 
I speak the truth, that this art ivill vanish from under 
thy hands, insomuch that thou shalt not know even 
that thou hadst it. The which, verily, hath befallen 
more than one without their expectation.^ Does any 
one at this day, really conversant with the Subject, 
ridicule such an assertion ; or are our minds so far 
estranged from the sphere of final causes, as to be 
unable to conceive the accountability of moral evil 
under the Law ? Is not destruction to the wicked ? 
says Job, and a strange punishment to the workers of 
iniquity ? Doth not He see my ways, and count all my 
steps ? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot 
hath hasted to deceit ; let me be weighed in an even 
balance, that God may know mine integrity. If my 
step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart 
walked after rnine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to 
mine hands : then let me sow, and let another eat ; 
yea, let my offspring be rooted out. — If I have made 
gold my hope, or have said to the Jitie gold, Thou art 

^ Aquarium Sapientfim, Appendix. 


398 Laws and Conditions. 

my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was 
great, and because mine hand had gotten much ; if I 
beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in 
brightness : and my heaj^t hath, heen sectrtli/ enticed, or 
7)11/ mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were an 
iniquity to be punished by the Judge: for I should 
have denied the God that is above} 

That was the transgression of Eve, and of Adam, 
who sought to hide his iniquity in his bosom ;^ but so 
multifanous are the estrangements of sense, and so 
rapidly are effects carried along and remotely imaged 
in this world, that their source becomes less and less 
an object of general regard. The Laws of Nature 
indeed are examined into, and practically demonstrated 
to be just what they appear to be ; the moral, the 
physical, and the organic are well reasoned and ohown 
tiptigt ; as in their constitutional consequences , att aliimat - 
(X^(xrcu «4 from each other, fixed and independent. For nature 
at the circumference subsists in this way ; animals, birds, 
insects, fishes, herbs too, and minerals, having their 
parts so variously qualified, that not anything homo- 
geneous is discovered to sight. Each creature never- 
theless has its class ; and a kingdom in common belongs 
to each specific variety. As a tree, with its flowers, 
leaves, and branches, in plural manifestation, is at the 
root one ; and as the flower may die and the leaves 
still survive, or the trunk without either live to endure 
the winter's blast, so with respect to the natural laws ; 
and in such a respect are they seen, independent and 
apart fi'om each other ; neither more nor less, for in 
their root are they not also one ? Let the virus but 
once reach this by either channel, the moral, the phy- 
sical or the organic vitally infiinged, the whole structure 
sympathizing decays. It is true, a man may be unjust, 
cruel, avaricious ; may indulge in many vices without 
suffering in health, provided the structural Laws be well 
conditioned and obeyed : contrariwise, also, the best 

^ Job, xxxi. 3—21. 
2 Idem, 33. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 399 

men may suffer from physical defects and infringe- 
ment of the organic law. In mechanical arts, too, and 
ordinary intellectual operations, we image out ideas 
by suitable subjects independently ; so that, whether 
it be for the sake of gain, fame, or object of what- 
ever kind, whether the work be undertaken with a 
benevolent, malicious, or other uncertain intent, the 
thing resulting may be the same, and remain to image, 
not the motive instigatory but the Idea. It is either 
well or ill done, beautiful or deformed, according to the 
pattern and skill that have been exercised, irrespective 
of the individual intention which gave it birth. The 
pictures of Holbein are not less beautiful for all the 
covetous spirit that reigned with their conception ; the 
deformity of the artist's soul was, as the Laws of 
Nature, apart, nor ever manifested in his produced 
work. The motive-springs of humanity are very 
generally made occult^ like the armament within the 
Trojan Horse, are often admitted under other pretext, 
to develope their force securely, whether of good or evil, 
in the world. And whilst yet they are borne along 
in outward consequence far from their originating 
source, the many are slow to perceive it, though they 
should retain all the while possibly, in the abiding 
purpose, the conscious rewards of its own kind. 

But in Alchemy, where the nature of things is alto- 
gether altered and ultimately reversed. Final Causes 
are of all things most manifestly revealed, and that in 
their immediate act and operation no less than in the 
eifect. Here is no gathering of grapes from thorns, 
or figs from thistles, as in this life is attempted ; but 
the intention is received back according to its kind most 
exactly ; where the subject, object, and result, through 
eveiy phase of life agree together, where the end is 
determinate fi'om the beginning, as the beginning is by 
the end made manifest, without intervention or con- 
cealment in the ministering Spirit throughout. Spring- 
ing directly from ourselves, this highly effective agent, 
even in the natural state, inclines, as the will directs, 
to image the conceived Idea ; how much more, when 

400 Laws and Conditions. 

promoted through a second to a third degree of con- 
centration, does it become fortified ; and further mul- 
tiplying in the Conjunction, impose in sure conse- 
quences on him who wields it the inherent account- 
ability ? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth ; so 
does the Law of Justice exact retribution in those 
spheres : hence so much caution and secrecy, that the 
Power might only be discovered through the long labour 
of an experienced and upright mind. Hence so much 
continued warning off the profane ; lest, deviating, they 
should either break or become broken necessitously 
upon the Wheel of Life. Sons of science ! for this reason 
are the philosophers said to be envious, declares Hermes, 
not that they grudged the truth to religious or just 
men, but to fools, ignorant and vicious, who are without 
self control and beneficence, lest they should be made 
powerful and able to perpetrate sinful things, for of 
such the philosophers are made accountable to God, 
and evil men are not accounted worthy of this Wis- 

Mais tryeful, merveyloys, and Archimastrye 

Is the tincture of holi Alkimy ; 

A wonderful science, and secret filosophy 

A singular grace and gift of the Almightye ; 

Which never was found, as witness we can, 

Nor thys science was ever tauglit to man, 

But he were proved perfectly with space. 

Whether he were able to receive this grace. 

For his trewth, virtue and for his stable wit, 

Which, if he faill, he shall never have it. 

Also no man should this science teach, 

For it is so wonderful, and so selcouth, 

That it must needs be taught fro' mouth to moutli ; 

Also he must (if he be never so loath), 

Receive it with a most sacred oath, 

That, as we refuse great dignity and fame, 

Soe he must needly refuse the same. 

And this science ii ust ever secret be, 

The cause whereof is this, as ye may see. 

If one evil man had hereof all his will. 

All Christian pease he might easily spill ; 

And with his pride he might pull downe, 

Eightful Kings and Princes of reuowne ; 

' Tract. Aur. cap. i. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 401 

Wherefore the sentence of peril and jeopardy 

Upon the teacher resteth dreadfully. 

So that for doubt of such pride and wealth 

He must beware, that will this science teach, 

No man therefore may reach this great present. 

But he hath virtues excellent. 

Soe tho' men weene possessors not to aide 

To hallow this science, as before is saide, 

Neither seem not blessed effectually. 

Yet, in her order, this science is holy. 

And forasmuch as no jnan may her find 

But only by grace, she is holy in her kind. 

Also it is a work and cure divine, 

Foul copper to make gold and silver fine ; 

No man may find such change by his thought, 

Of divers kinds which Grod's hands have wrouglit ; 

Por Grod's conjuctions man may not undoe. 

But if his grace fully consent thereto. 

By help of this science, which our Lord above, 

Has given to such men as He doth love, 

Wherefore old Fathers, conveniently, 

Called this science Holy Alkimy.' 

None ever truly attained to the fruits of this philo- 
sophy, as the wise declare, without rectitude of in- 
tention and the blessing of God on a well tried expe- 
rience : and it is the reiterated assertion of this grate- 
ful truth that has encouraged us, by a natural faith, to 
pursue the inquiry and recommend it to others who 
are desirous of instruction. To say that the pursuit is 
without danger to the ill-informed, would be presuming 
too much on late acquaintanceship and contrary to the 
credible assertion of adepts. But there are many de- 
grees of success in the le2:itimate path, and every step 
is progressive where the Rule of Reason is pursued. 
Avarice, or ambition, or a curious hope, may long to 
prove the golden promise of Alchemy ; but neither will 
be found to be the true Form of Gold ; Reason alone 
can enter into It ; Mammon may draw the dead metal 
in heaps about its sordid circumference ; but it cannot 
quicken the aurific seed in life ; that Spirit is too gross 
to permeate the ethereal profundity ; all he can draw 
from it is stolen ; for he is the first to fly from Wis- 

^ Norton's Ordinal, chap. i. in Ashmole's Theatrum. 
D D 

402 Laws and Conditions. 

dom's fiery ordeal, not able to enter with his camel 
form, or daring to prove his vaporous essence in Her 
pure Light. 

But to proceed ; next above the Covetous, Sceptics 
are condemned by Geber : but as these by their own 
choice remain in ignorance, they would merit less re- 
proval were it not that they endeavour to hinder 
others as well as themselves from the pursuit of truth. 
And of all evil spirits that haunt this world and set up 
their bar to human advancement, infidelity perhaps is 
the most absurd : by infidelity, we mean that fashion- 
able kind of faithlessness, w^hich, without rational 
foundation, denounces everything that is new, or 
not seeming immediately to square with the received 
common-place, and which in truth conceives nothing 
w'orthy to be believed, or held in veneration. The 
age of religious intolerance has passed gradually away, 
and great allowances are now made for most things, 
all kinds of folly and diversities of opinion ; but so 
much higher does the folly of scepticism run than 
heretofore, over all boundary, test of reality and pro- 
bability of truth, that we had as lieve the days of 
Galileo had been our's, as live so much later to see the 
recovered secret of ages dwindle and sink into obloquy 
for lack of faith and mind verily to bear it witness in 

It is the wisdom of modern sceptics to ape the thing 
which they stand most in need of, viz., sound reason; ' q 
the deficiency too is doubled in their disguise, as,, igno- '"^ 
rant of their own ignorance, they push forward as so 
many stolid bolts before the gate of Truth. Yet, de- 
spite of all the rejectors and scoffers. Nature opens 
her hospitable door to the multitude in the highways 
and byways, seeking them out to alleviate their sufferings 
and offer a new guide to knowledge and felicity. We 
7u; o allude to Mesmerism : wei^^er ashamed, but grateful 

to acknowledge the neglected Door-keeper that gave us 
first introduction to the vestibule of antique science. 
Do they not perceive how she has risen up, lifted by a 
few faithful hands out of their reach ? Those scoffers ? 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 403 

But her monarchy was estabhshed and triumphant 
even before they perceived her, or ever their wicked 
crusade against her was begun. They warred with 
they knew not what, or wished either to know ; or, 
had they wislied, would it avail without faith to sti- 
mulate in the pursuit. Nature, who is liberal of her 
common gifts and lavishes earthly blessings without 
personal respect, opens not this casket after the same 
rule ; she must be moved to it subtly, conscientiously, 
courteously, and then she will surrender to none but a 
philosopher, one too that has been disciphned in her 
schools, tried and proven to ensure his ability to bear 
the sacred trust. 

Therefore no man shulcle be too swifte, 

To cast away our Lord's precions gifte, 

Consideriuge liow the Almighty God, 

From great doctors hath this science forbod ; 

And granted it to few men of his mercy, 

Such as be faithful, trew and lowly. 

And as there be but planets seven 

Among the multitude of stars in heaven, 

Soe among millions of millions of mankind 

Scarcely seven men male this science finde. 

Wherefore laymen ye may lere and see 

How many doctors of great authority, 

With many searchers have this science souglit, 

Yet all their labours have turned to nought. 

And if they did cost, yet found none availe, 

But in their purpose often tyme did faile. 

Then in despair, they reason and departe. 

And then they say how there is noe such arte ; 

But fained fables, they name it as they goe, 

A fals fond thing, they say it is alsoe. 

Such men presume too much upon their minde, 

They weene their wits sufficient this arte to finde ; 

But of their slander and wordes of outrage. 

We take thereof trewly little charge : 

For such be not invited to our feast. 

Which weeneth themselves wise, and can doe leaste. 

Albeit such men list not longer to pursue, 

Tet is this science of Alkimy full trew ; 

And albeit some proud clerks say nay, 

Tet every wise clerke weU consider may. 

How he which hereof might no trewth see. 

May not hereof lawful witness be ; 

D D 2 

404 Laws and Conditions, 

For it were a wondrous thing and queinte 

A man ilmt never had sight to peinte. 

How sliould a born blinde man be sure 

To write or make good portraiture ? 

To build Poule's steeple might be greate double 

For such proud clerks to bring aboute ; 

Such might be apt to break their crowne, 

Ere they could wisely take it downe. 

Wherefore all such are full far behind e, 

To fetch out the secretest pointe of kinde ; 

Therefore all men, take their fortune and chance, 

Eemit such clerks to their ignorance.^ 

Rational scepticism has quite another object and 
never exhibits itself in the refractory form of its mock 
ally. It is the province of reason to inquire and en- 
deavour, by perscrutination, to prove all things, that, 
finally rejecting the false, it may hold fast that which 
is true. Such scepticism, more properly perhaps 
called discrimination, is as much required by the Her- 
metic Student as the other is obnoxious. For this 
kind of analytic exercise helps to corroborate the mind, 
and cultivate that distinctive supremacy of truth in the 
qAoU'I understanding/^which is so essential to success in the 

^ / practical research ; but which is very rarely to be met 

with in uneducated minds. And, being without it, 
need we wonder that so many are now, as in Geber's 
and Norton's time, opinionative, unstable in purpose, 
wilful and dissimulating ; or that they wlio have never 
entertained the true ideal should fail to recognise the 
image when represented before their eyes ? The 
searcher of nature ought to be, as she herself is, faith- 
ful, simple, patient, constant, giving his mind to the 
discovery of truth alone, hopeful and benevolent. It 
behoves him, also, who would be introduced into this 
hidden Wisdom, says the Hermetic Master, to free him- 
self from the usurpation of vice, and to be good, just, 
and of a sound reason, ready at hand to hel]) mankind, of 
a serene countenance, diligent to save, and be himself a 
patient guardian of the arcane secrets of philosophy.^ 

* Norton's Oi-dinal, chap. i. 
2 Tract. Aur. cap. ii. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 405 

And if to these qualifications a convenient leisure be 
added, all may be hoped for progressively passing by 
a living experience into the Light. But neither will a 
busy head nor a faithless heart, by impure hands, be 
able ; nor does a vagabond inclination enter in by the 
narrow way of life. 

With respect to the impediments of body mentioned 
by Geber, these are less numerous and more com- 
monly supplied : Hands and eyes are to be had in 
abundance, and where these are conjoined with the 
foregoing conditions, other hinderances with respect to 
the artist may, for the occasion, be passed by. Then 
for the student; he should, as a matter of course, be 
possessed, or learn, at least, to cultivate the incipient 
qualifications he intends afterwards to bring to prac- 
tice. The same patient hope and free perspicuity of 
thought and imagination also will be called for, in ac- 
quiring the Hermetic doctrine, by perusal, as is after- 
wards needed for the experimental proof. Reading was 
not formerly adapted to the million, as it now is, in 
thought, language, and reference — familiarized and 
made easy to the understanding of all. No such al- 
luring baits to idleness are to be found on the title 
pages of the middle age school of philosophy ; — no 
such simplifications of science, as we now hear of, are 
belonging to Alchemy. It is true, there are Revelations, 
Open Entrances, New Lights and True Lights, Sun- 
shine and Moonshine, with other Auroras, and pictured 
Dawns ; Manuals, Introductory Lexicons of obscure 
terms, with meanings no less obscured ; Trium- 
phal Chariots also, ^\£a»&. Gates, Keys, and Guides 
too without number, all directing on the same Royal 
Road when this is found ; but useless to most way- 
farers ; nothing that we observe at all suited to the 
means or taste of the miUion?ffy class of readers whose 
understanding, like that of pampered children, has 
grown flaccid ; and, by excess of object-teaching, has 
forgotten how to think. 

Very few there will be found to relish the enigmas 
of the old Alchemists ; no thoughtless experimentalist. 





406 Laws and Conditions. 

persisting in his mere senses — no hopeful receipt - 
monger, sectarian fanatic, or fact idolator — no idhng 
curiosity seeker, or dilettanti imaginist, will find even 
his leisure well occupied in this pursuit : we warn 
them all, the subject is too abstruse, and too intricately 
dealt with, for the natural understanding to appre- 
jUL. / hend at first view. But it io trucks the adepts in- 

deed foretold, their records have proved like a curious 
two-edged instrument — to some it has cut out dainties, 
and to others it has only served to cut their fingers ; 
yet are they not altogether to be blamed. It is not 
for the ignorant to blame the power of that which they 
do not know how to handle ; or would it not be a ridi- 
culous thing, if some child or arrogant rustic were to 
denounce the language of Astronomy, or say that Che- 
mistry was a vain science, and merely because the 
terms are not comprehensible without instruction ? In 
almost all the records of Alchemy, the inner sense is 
held aloof from the literal ; and if, by hazard or bene- 
volent design, the truth has escaped in plain discourse, 
it has been either slighted over or disbelieved. Thus 
Sendivogius relates it had frequently happened to him, 
that having intimated the Art to some friends, word by 
word explaining it, they could by no means understand 
him, not believing, as he quaintly expresses it, that there 
was any water in our sea; and yet, says he, they would be 
accounted philosophers. Other instances of the same 
kind are given, amongst whom, Eireneus, in the run of 
his allegory relates, — There were a multitude of men, 
who, seeing my Light in my Hand, which they could not 
discern well, they being in that darkness which would 
not be enlightened ; but, as through a thick cloud be- 
holding my candle, judged it ominous, and left their 
stations. For their eyes with darkness and smoke were 
made so tender, that my candle overpowered them, and 
they could not bear its lustre ; therefore they, crying out, 
ran away. I mused much at this, continues the philo- 
sopher, how they could be in such Cimmerian darkness; 
and as I wondered, I bethought me, that they had with 
them another light, as it were. Fox-fire or Rotten wood, 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 407 

or Glow-worm's tails; and with this they sat in consul- 
tation, reading Geber, Rhasis, and such whom I heard 
them name, and commenting on them, not without 
much pleasantness. Then I considered that the light 
which I had brought with me did not enlighten that 
place, but stood separated, as it were, from the dark- 
ness ; and withal I remembered that there was once a 
Light in the World, and the Darkness comprehended it 
not : and that darkness I now perceived had a false 
fire of its own, with which it seemed to its inhabitants 
to be wonderfully well enlightened.^ i^l ^ 

This hnmoroua intududa of Eiren^us,.in the out- 'JJia^^ 
ward application, bears not unaptly to our con- 
clusion, that the abstruse light of Alchemy is not 
fit for the understanding of all, neitlier is percep- 
tible to the gross intelligence of the mass of man- 
kind. But this singular fate of incredulity has seemed 
always to attend, lest folly or wilfulness, precipi- 
tously passing into practice, should either perish or 
break the divine legislation in inharmonious effects. 
And thus the Art will probably continue concealed 
through many ages still ; nor, except by a very few, 
be more accredited, though all early Christendom 
should rise up in attesting array to give it evidence. 
For what is truth to triflers, or light to the indifferent 
worldling, who cares not to be undeceived ? How en- 
list him in a search so arduous, so uninteresting to his 
affections, and inimical to his self-love ? No ! wise in 
his generation, rather let him sleep on ; for what 
would it profit him to learn to believe without the 
power of realizing any good ? Without a stable 
theory, and the desire of truth absolutely leading, all 
is mere vanity and a vexation of the spirit. 

It wei'e much better for such to cease, 
Than for tliis art to put them in presse ; 
Let such-like butterfles wonder and pass, 
Or learne this lesson both now and lasse, 
Following the sentence of this lioli letter, 

1 Ripley Eevived, First Gate, p. 12 1 . 

408 Laws and Conditions. 

Attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, 

Disponens omnia suaviter ; 

That is proceede mightily to th' End 

From the beginning maugre the Fiend. 

All tilings disposing, in the meane space, 

AVitli great suavity that cometh of grace, 

All short-witted men and mutable 

Such must needes be variable ; 

And some do every man believe, 

Such credence doth their coffers grieve ; 

To every new tale to them told, 

They give credence and leave the old. 

But some Lords be of stable wit, 

Such only be apt to finish it.^ 

Adepts all therefore advise discretion, and are cir- 
cumspect in their revealments, lest That, which in the 
hands of a philosopher becomes most precious, should 
be otherwise made worthless, or worse than all. He 
that understands, says the royal artist, let him under- 
stand and advance ; but let him that cannot, be igno- 
rant still. For this treasure is not to be bought with 
money ; and as it cannot be bought, so neither can it 
be sold.^ Ye sons of Avarice and Ignorance, cries 
Geber, and ye of evil manners, avaunt and fly from 
this science, for it is inimical to you, and wdll bring 
you to poverty. For this great gift of God is, by His 
judgment, hidden fi'om you forever ; and therefore we 
treat of it in such words as to the wise shall, by pur- 
suit, become intelligible : but to such as we have de- 
scribed, men of mean capacity, will be most jirofound; 
and fools shall be absolutely debarred entrance therein.^ 

Common language is suited to express common 
jcn-Ufh-^ idoftc , and to convey them to the vulgar conception ; 
^ but the Alchemists, for various sufficient reasons, have 

not thought lit to deliver their Wisdom in this w^ay, as 
if it could be syllabled out like a romance or a com- 
mon ballad, for the amusement of the first runner by, 
who would deign to look with his mere eyes and read. 
They better knew the value of their instructions, and 

1 Norton's Ordinal, chap. vi. 

2 Calid in Salmon, p. 30. 

3 Summa Perfect, in fine. 


Mental Requisites and Impediments. 409 

so studiously veiled it, that he only who was really de- 
sirous, and made fit by long study to pursue the work, 
should be able to understand them. — The words of the 
wise are as goads, says the preacher, and as nails fast- 
ened by the master of assemblies which are given by 
one shepherd. — One spirit indeed reigns throughout, 
and one intention ; but she is so hedged in with ca- 
balisms, metaphors, types, emblems, and sophistica- 
tions, there is but One Leader, who should undertake the 
deliverance ; one only, we repeat ; he that is allied — / • /I 
the same^hat, in practice strengyiening,_afterwardsJ& ^-s? Cc&r\jKt 
enabled to raise the allegoric siege of life ; and by the aCu^/^ 
fire of his divine wrath enkindled, to overcome the ■^ 

stronghold of evil therein allied. 

And let the sapient artificer, concludes the prince, 
studiously peruse our books, collecting our dispersed 
intention, which we have described in divers places 
that we might not expose it to malignant, ignorant 
men ; and let him prove his collection even into 
the knowledge, studying and experimenting with the 
instance of sagacious labour, till he come to an 
entire understanding of the whole. Let the stu- 
dent exercise himself, in order to find out this our 
proposed way of investigation, so as to acquire a 
plenary knowledge of the verity of the perfecting 
and con-upting Matter and Form.^ And again, — I 
beg of thee, my son, says the adept Ricliardus, to 
examine the writings of the philosophers ; for if thou 
art slothful at thy books, thy mind cannot he prepai'ed 
for the icork ; nor will he be able advantageous lij to 
bring his Hand to the practice whose Mind is sluggish in 
studying the theory. But he with more security shall 
advance to the w^ork who has stored his mind with 
resources : ignorance is wiped off by study, which 
restores the human intellect to true science and know- 
ledge, and by these enigmas the Dagon is overthrown.^ 
Zachary likewise, in his Opusculum — This I tell thee, 

1 Epilogue to the Invest, of Perfection. 

^ See Lucerna Salis, many passages to the same effect. Eichardi 
Ang. libel, cap. iii. 

410 Laws and Conditions. 

he says, that thou oughtest first to read with un- 
wearied patience and perseverance the writings of the 
philosophers hefore thou extendest thy Hand to the 
Pliilosophic Work, and pray to God for his grace and 
wisdom to help thee therein ; for no one ever acquired 
this art by chance, but by prayer rather than by any 
other means. Mediums nevertheless are to be em- 
ployed.^ Pray, says Sendivogius, pray; but work. 
God indeed gives understanding; but thou must 
know how and when to use it.^ Arnold, in his 
Rosary, mentions three requisites, viz., subtlety of 
mind, manual skill, and a free will for the operation ;'* 
to which Lully, likewise adds a sufhciency of the Divine 
Favour, and books to open the understanding and 
give it zest for truth. ^ The author of the Luccnia 
Sails, moreover, agrees that in order to aequiie this 
science study is required in the beginning, and medita- 
tion, that a good foundation may be laid ; for that 
without this God does not reveal His grace, nor unless 
He be prompted thereto by the fervent prayers of him 
who desires so signal a favour. He does not either 
grant it immediately to any person, but always by 
mediate dispositions , to wit, by instructions and the 
labour of the hands ; to which He gives a thorough 
blessing if He be invoked thereto with a sincere heart: 
whereas, when recourse is not duly had to Him by 

^ Zachary Opuscule, p. 69. 

- New Light, p. 122. 

•■* Arnoldi Rosarium, 1. ii. cap. v. Puta subtile iugenium ar- 
tiHcis, opera niauuum et arbitriuni ; quod quideui requirit divitias, 
sapieutiam, et libros. 

'^ LuUii Theor. Test. c. 31. Et idcirco fili tibi dico, quod tria 
reqiiiruutur, scilicet, iugenium subtile natiirale non sopliisticuiii, 
mauuum operatic, et liberuni arbit\[uni, et hoc requirit sapieutiam, 
divitias, et libros. Sapieutiam, ad sciendum lacere : divitias, ad 
habendum potestatem facieudi : libros ad intellect um aperieudum 
divcrsvuu qui est in multis gentibus. And Kic^ardus — Studium se- 
cundum doctores amovet ignorantiam et reducit humanum intel- 
lectum ad veram scientiam et cognitioncm cujuslibet rei. Ergo 
in primis necesse est per studium hujus suavis operis scientiam 
acquirere et per philosophica dicta iugenium acuere, cum in ipsis 
sit cognita via veritatis si ergo laborantes laborem non de- 
spexerint fructum iudo provenientem dulciter gustabuut, &c. — 
Theat. Chem. vol. ii. p. 419. Iticlyardi Anglici Libellus, cap. ii. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 411 

prayer, He stops the effect thereof, either by inter- 
posing obstacles to things already begun, or else suf- 
fering them to conclude with an evil event. ^ 

These several preliminary requirements will not ap- 
pear astonishing to those who have obtained an insight 
into the nature of this science, nor will it be deemed 
by any, we hope, a canting pretence or affectation for 
philosophers to talk of praying for Divine assistance in 
a research, which is so much wrapped in and about the 
Desire as to be ultimately made manifest through its 
means. Besides, are we not accustomed to seek for 
benefits where we think they are to be found ? if we go 
to the musician to learn music, the chemist to procure 
instruction in his art, to the astronomer, builder, or 
other mechanist to learn their several acquirements, 
how^ much more ought we not to apply to the Causal 
Fountain for Wisdom, which is His alone and volunta- 
rily to bestow ? And as the learned of this w^orld must 
be won by some means to impart their knowledge, 
shall we not by the same parallel endeavour to move 
the Divine Nature by prayers, who has promised all 
things to those humbly and early seeking Him ? For 
to desire and covet after Wisdom is to seek to be a 
partaker of that Divinity to which we aspire, and no 
otherwise can we be made partakers, it is taught, but 
by a voluntary assimilation. — My son, instructs the 
wise Hermes, I admonish thee to love God, in wliom 
is the strength of thy undertaking and the bond of 
whatsoever thou meditatest to unloose, and this 
science I have obtained by the sole gift of the living 
God inspiring me.^ Man may conditionate — ought, by 
patient labour disciplining, to prepare the way of the 
Greater in the Lesser Good ; but he cannot compel, 
much less impart, the Divine blessing on his handi- 
work, neither cement the spiritual union yiov give 
it increase. There is a period too, when in conjunc- 

1 Digby's Translation of the Lucerua Sails, page 320. Ee- 

- Tract. Aur. cap. i. & ii. 

412 Laws and Conditions. 

tion, the Spirit transcends all earthly control, and 
passing under the Divine Hand, recreates by His sove- 
reign will alone. But it is vain to look for a blessing 
from Nature without His co-operation who is her Will ; 
for without controversy, as the Scripture alludes, the 
Lesser is blessed by the Greater. — Every good gift and 
every perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights in 
whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning. 
— And again, Paul may plant and Apollos may water, 
but God alone giveth the Increase. — And God withholds 
not this increase alone, but deprives the talent like- 
wise, where it is wasted or hoarded without interest or 
promotion. To them that have and use is given 
more abundantly, but from him that improves not 
there is taken away even that which he has. For the 
Almighty will not permit his gifts to remain idle, 
much less may they suffer abuse, being immortal ; and 
he therefore must be a good steward who w^ould over- 
look the rich treasury of life. 

Our gold and silver ben no common plate, 

But a sperme owte of a body I take, 

In tlie wliycb is alia, Sol, Lune, Life and Light, 

"Water and Ertb, Fyre and Frygbt : 

And alle cometb of one Image, 

But the AVater of the Wood, maketb the marriage. 

Therefore there ys no other waye 

But to take thee to thy beades and pray : 

For covetous men yt fiudeth never 

Though they seek yt once and ever : 

Set not your hearts in thys thing 

But only to God and good lyvinge 

And he that will come thereby 

Must be meeke and full of mercy : 

Botli in spyrit and in countenance. 

Full of charitie and good governance, 

And ever more full of alms deede. 

Symple and pewerly hys lyf to leade : 

AVitli prayers, penances, and piety. 

And ever to God a lover be, 

And all the riches that he ys sped, 

To do God worshippe with almes deed. 
All you that have sought manie a day. 
Leave worke, take your beades and pray.* 

' Fierce, the Black Monk, on the Elixir, in Aslimole's Theat. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 41^ 

With the nature and effects of prayer, in ordinary 
Hfe, all men are familiar in one degree or other; for 
every desire of the mind is in its kind a prayer and 
preparative for the acquirement of its object ; and if 
prayer effected nothing else, it certainly collects the 
mind, and coiToborates the faculties in their pursuit ; 
for when the thoughts are concentered, means and ad- 
juncts suggest themselves, which do not occur when 
they are indifferently drawn ; and thus by a prayerful 
communion we often obtain and divine things which 
otherwise we should not. But the esoteric ground 
brings us acquainted with prayer in a far deeper sense, 
and adepts are eloquent in their imputations of its 
efficacy in Spagyric Works, when the mind is lifted 
up ; — even in the midst of the operations of Vital 
Chemistry, full of labour and toil, they prayed, says 
Kirchringius, and every man knows, that hath entirely 
devoted himself to this business, how effectual prayer 
is, and how often those things which he long sought 
and could not find, have been imparted to him in a mo- 
ment, as it were, infused from above, or dictated by 
some good genius. That also is of use in solving rid- 
dles and enigmatical writings ; for if you burn with a 
great desire of knowing them, that is pi^ayer : and 
when you incline your mind to this or that, variously 
discussing and meditating many things, this is co- 
operatioti : that your prayer may not be, for want of 
exertion a tempting of God ; yet all endeavour is vain 
until you find the solution. Nevertheless, if you 
despair not, but instantly persist in desire, and cease 
not from labour, at length, in a moment, the solution 
will fall in ; this is irvdation, which you cannot 
receive unless you pray with great desire and labour, 
using your utmost endeavour ; and yet you cannot 
perceive how from all those things, of which you 
thought, which were not the solution of the Enigma, 
the solution itself arose. This unfolding of the Riddle 
opens to you the mystery of all things, and shows how 
available prayer is for the obtainment of things spiri- 
tual and eternal, as well as corporeal and perishing 

414 Laws and Conditions. 

goods : and when prayer is made with a heart not 
feigned, hut sincere, you icill see that there is nothing 
more Jit for the acquiring of what you desire. Thus 
piety is available for all things, as the oracles declare, 
and prayer especially, which is its principal exercise, is 
profitable for great undertakings.^ 

But lest, with all this, it should appear to any su- 
perstitious or otherwise unrighteous to invoke the 
Divine aid to this particular undertaking, as if God 
were mutable, we take leayp to add a few further con- a 
^} siderations in defence, and^the different kinds of invox . 
cation which were employed by the ancients in 
their celebration of Theurgic rites. 

Prayer, according to Jamblicus, was divided into 
three classes. The first of which, as pertaining to 
the early initiations, was called Collective, having 
for its object to gather the mental powers into ac- 
cord with their leader, seeking a clue whereby it 
may enter the intelligible profundity of the Enigma. 
The second effects the bonds of concordant spirits; 
caUing forth, prior to the energy of speech, the 
gifts imparted by Divinity, and perfecting the subor- 
dinate operations, prior to intellectual alliance. The 
third is the final authoritative seal of union ; when the 
desire, leading from faith, becomes into its true end. 
The first, recapitulates our author, pertains to Illumi- 
nation ; the second, to a Communion of Operation ; 
but through the energy of the third, we receive a per- 
fect plenitude of Divine Fire. And supplication, in- 
deed precedes, like a precursor, preparing the way be- 
fore the sacrifice appears ; but sometimes it intercedes 
as a mediator f' and sometimes accomplishes the end 
of sacrificing. No operation however, in sacred con- 
cerns, can succeed without the intervention of prayer. 
Lastly, the continual exercise of prayer nourishes the 

^ Sec the Auuotations of Kirchriiigius on Basil Yalentiue, sub 
init. ]). 5. 

2 See St. Paul's Epistle to the Eomans, viii. 26, 27. 


Mental Requisites and Impediments. 415 

vigour of our intellect, and renders the receptacles of 
the soul far more capacious (by enlarging the desire) 
for the communications of the gods. It likewise is 
the Divine Key ivhich opens to men the penetralia of 
Wisdom ; accustoms us to the splendid rivers of super- 
nal light ; and by tliese, in a short time, perfects the 
inmost recesses and disposes them for the ineffable 
knowledge and contact of Divinity : nor does adora- 
tion desist till it has raised the sublimated soul up to 
the summit of all. For it gradually and silently 
draws upw^ards the manners of the soul, by divesting 
her of every thing foreign to a Divine nature, and 
clothes her with the perfections of the gods. Besides 
this, it produces an indissoluble communion and friend- 
ship with Divinity, nourishes a Divine love, and in- 
flames the Divine part of the soul. Whatever is of an 
opposive and contrary nature it helps to expiate and 
purify, expels whatever is prone to generation, and re- 
tains nothing of the dregs of mortality in its ethereal 
and splendid spirit ; perfects a good hope and faith, 
concerning the reception of Divine Light, and in one 
word, renders those by whom it is employed the fa- 
miliars and domestics of the gods.^ 

Such then being the advantages of prayer, and such 
the connection of adoration with sacrifice, and the 
end of Theurgic sacrifice is a conjunction wdth the 
Demiurgic Intellect ; hence, does it not follow, that the 
benefit of prayer, if we concur at all in opinion con- 
cerning these things, is of the same extent with the 
good which is conferred by such an alliance? And 
these three terms of adoration, in w'hich, according to 
the authorities, all the Divine measures are contained, 
not only conciliate the warring elements of life, but 
extend to man three supernal benefits ; as, trans- 
lated from one form of perfection to another, Life pro- 
gresses, bringing forth an offspring to be sacrificed on 
the alternating confines of each ; as it w^ere three Hes- 
perian Apples of Gold. 

1 See J^amMicus, De Mysteriis, cap. xxvi. 





416 Laws and Conditions. 

And thus the end of all adoration is attained, and 
there the rational inquiry rests as in its proper object, 
and there the true attraction of love is to be found, 
which in this life never can be but by an ablation of 
p ' •jfei For the attractions which are here supplied to 
sensible perception, and for which so many pray, are 
transitory, and the desire of them is nothing more than 
the desire of images which lose ultimately the mag- 
netic virtue imparted to them by the idea, and because 
without it, when in the possession, they are found to 
be neither truly desirable, nor sufficient, nor good. 

But if, •« the HidifFereat concerns of life, men pray 
D and for a general prosperity in public worship, hoping 

to be heard, how much more should not the desire be 
conceived effectual when addressed within the Living 
f^crr^-^ Temple t® the Divine Light within ; when, in the con- 
gress of allied mind, the Spirit wakes to consciousness ; 
and, in thcLmniversal harmony conspiring, dissolves 
the total life to love. 

I called upon the Lord, exclaims the Psalmist, and 
He heard me out of His holy temple, and my cry 
came before Him, even unto His ears. I prayed, and 
understanding was given me ; I called upon God, and 
the Spirit of Wisdom came to me. — And hence it may 
more readily be conceived, how prayer and self-sacri- 
fice conspiring, mutually corroborate and confer on 
each other a perfect efficacy in Divine works ; since, 
even Matter itself is said to be extended to the desir- , / 
able, i.e., to the Good; and tl^ugh this desire isX,^/ 
filled with as many goods as it is able to participate. 
And when things have run up so far as to this Suffi- 
cience they become tranquil in it, and are liberated 
from the parturitions, and the desire which they na- 
turally possess. Neither will it therefore be proper to 
omit any part of this concord, or deny any faculty of 
the mind its due exercise in the Preparation, since 
these diversified parts of the Spirit are in their re- 
nascent harmony made one ; thence again to be evolved 
in catholic procession to complete the equilibriated cir- 
cle of their Law. And this much mav suffice concern- 

Mental Requisites and Impediments, 417 

ing the nature of prayer, and the corroborative efficacy 
of the Human Will, acting in concert with its Final 
Cause to fulfil It. 

The next difficulty presenting itself to the mind of 
the student, after he has obtained a general knowledge 
of the Hermetic ground, with a hopeful desire to 
commence operations, has been to find suitable assist- 
ance in the undertaking ; many have halted here a long 
while unprofitably, for it is evident that without a 
Subject to work with and reciprocate the design it re- 
mains abortive, as a statue in the conception without 
the marble to give it utterance. 

The ascent to Unity is arduous, and the descent is 
not undertaken in safety alone ; neither is there any 
increase of the Spirit, as we have already shown, with- 
out a medium and a bond, — Behold, two are better 
than one, says the Preacher, because they have a good 
reward for their labour, and nmtually assist each other 
by the way : but for one alone, there is no end of his 
labour; and for wdiom do I labour, saith he, and be- 
reave my soul of good? This is vanity, yea, it is a 
sore travail.^ 

But so much has been written, and with such a deal 
of sophistication, about the Philosophic Vessel and 
its multiform distillatory apparatus, of nerves, veins, 
and alembics, that we should be in doubt where to 
choose a guide in this respect sufficiently intelligible, 
and who is at the same time trustworthy and of equal 
fame ; one hint, how^ever, in the sum of Norton's Or- 
dinal, may help to extricate us from the difficulty of 
explaining many more, 

Which are full derke, 
To ordeyne instruments according to the werke. 
As every Chaj^ter hath divers intents, 
So hath it divers instruments. 
Both in matter also in shape, 
In concord tliat nothing may mishap ; 
As workers of division and separation 
Have small vessels for their operation ; 

1 Eccles. iv. 8, 9. 
E E 

418 Laws and Conditions. 

But vessels broad for humectation, 

And some deale broad for circulation ; 

But long vessels for ])recipitatio)i ; 

But short and long serve sublimation ; 

Narrow vessels and four inches bigU 

Serve correction most properly. 

Of vessels some be made of leade, 

And some of cla^/ both quick and dead ; 

Dead clay is called such a thing, 

As hath suffered great roasting ; 

Such meddled in potvder with good raw clay, 

^iWjier abide and not go away ; 

But many clayes will woll leap iwfier, 

Such for vessels doe not desire. 

Other vessels be made of stone, 

For fier sufficient, but few or none ; 

Among workemen, as yet is founde 

In any county of English grounde, 

Which of wafer nothing drinke shall 

And yet abide driefier withall ; 

Such Stones, large for our intente, 

Were a precious instrument ; 

But other vessels be made ol' glasse. 

That spiritual matters should not outpasse ; 

Of ashes, of feme in this lond everi each cue 

Be made, but elsewhere be of stone : 

Of our glasses, the better kinde, 

The morning stuffe ye shall it finde, 

Which was ashes the night before, 

Standing in heate, all night and more, 

The harder stuffe is called Freton, 

Of clipping of other glasses it come ; 

Tincture with ancaling of glasiers 

Will ]iot perse him as they reherse. 

By this doctrine chuse or refuse. 
Take that which you woll unto your use, 
For in figures of vessels kinde, 
Everie man followeth his own minde ; 
The best fashion is yc maie be sure, 
She that concordeth with vessel of Nature ; 
And figure that best concordeth with quantity, 
And with all circumstances, to matter best is she, 
And this sheweth best Albertus Magm/s, 
In his Boke De Minei-alibus. 
Hereof a secreate disclosed was. 
By my good Master, to more and lesse, 
Saying, Si Deus non dedisset nobis vas 
Nihil dedisset, and that is glasse} 

1 JSTorton's Ordinal, chap. vi. p. 94. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 419 

The Spirit finally constructs its own vessel and vi- 
trifies it ; and since the artist is at liberty to make 
choice according to convenience of his instruments in 
the beginning, and each one would be likely to vary 
in his preference, we avoid a superfluity of description ; 
besides, of the many that may be called together, at 
first, few, it will be understood, are chosen to proceed 
beyond the exigencies of the preliminary Gross Work. 
And then, will they not speak for themselves ? Those 
philosophic vessels, like the planks of Argo, on occa- 
sion, are still oracular ; being felled from the self-same 
ground too, in the same classic grove, made vocal by 

And metliiuks few potters within this Eeahn, 

Have made at ony tyme such cunning ware. 

As we, for our science, doe fashion and prepare. 

Few ever formed such, nor the like of them, 

Yet they are plain without wrinkle or hem ; 

One within another, it is a pretty feate, 

The Third without them to guide up the heate. 

First then with the potter thou must begin, 

Which cannot make what he hath never seen. 

In order that thy vessels be made to thy mind 

Stand by while he worketh more surety to finde 

And shew him what to do by some sign or similitude, 

And if his wits be not too dull and rude, 

He will understand what thou dost meane.^ 

A humorous story is related in continuation, by this 
author, of the difficulties he met w^ith in the practice 
from indifferent assistance : and how% after so much 
vexation and loss of time, he was obliged to take the 
whole of the Manual labour upon himself. 

For servants doe not passe, how our workes to frame. 

But have more delighte to play and to game. 

A good servant, saith Solomon, let him be unto thee, 

As thine own hearte, in each degree : 

For it is precious a faithful servant to finde, 

Esteem him above treasure if he be to thy minde. 

Not wreckless, but sober, wise and quiet, 

Such a one were even for my dyet.^ 

^ Charnocke's Breviary of Philosophy, chap. i. 
2 Idem, chap. iii. 

E E 2 

420 Laws and Conditions. 

The value of such assistance may be better appre- 
ciated when we come to speak of the Preparatory 
Practice which Norton, naively, and without much 
envy, describes, enumerating also the needful qualifi- 
cation and numbers of individuals employed about the 
Gross Work, as follows : — 

The Second Concord with this Arte is, 

When ye can finde apt Ministers 

Noe Minister is apt to this intent 

But he be sober, wise, and diligent ; 

Trewe, and ivatchful, and also timerovs. 

Close of tongue, of body not vicious, 

Clenhj of hands, in tucking curious. 

Not disobedient, neither presumptuous ; 

Such servants may your workes of charge 

Minister, and save from all outrage : 

But trust me that two such servants or three 

Male not sufficient for your work be ; 

If your matter be of quantity reasonable, 

Then eight such servants be convenable ; 

But upon little quantitye, finde ye shall 

Foure men able to performe alle : 

Then one half oi them, must werke 

AVhile the other half sleepeth or goeth to kerJie : 

For of this Arte ye shall not have praije 

But it he ministered as loell by night as daye ; 

Continually, except the holi Sonday alone ; 

From Evensong begin till Evensong be done. 

And while they worke they must needs eschew 

All ribaudry, else they shall finde this trewe, 

That such mishap sliall them befall 

They shall destroy part of their werks or all ; 

Therefore all the ministers must be men. 

Or els thei must be all weomen ; 

Set them not occupied one with another, 

Though some to you be sister or brother ; 

iTet thei must have some good disporte, 

Their greate labors to recomforte : 

Then nothinge shall better avaunce 

Your woi'ke than sliall this Concordaunce. 

Yet Instruments useful there be more. 

As be Furnaces ordcyned therefore ; 

Old men imagined for this Arte 

A special fiirnace for every parte 

Every each devising after his owne thoughte 

But many furnaces of them be noughte ; 

Some were too broad, some too long, 

Mani of them did nature wrong. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 421 

Therefore some furnaces may well be used, 
But many of them must be refused.^ 

The true furnace has been described as a little sim- 
ple shell ; thou mayest easily carry it, says Vaughan, in 
one of thy Hands ; the glass is one, and no more ; 
but philosophers have used two, and so mayest thou. 
As for the work itself, it is no way troublesome ; a lady 
may read the Arcadia, and at the same time attend 
this philosophy without disturbing her fancy. For 
my part, continues the philosopher, I think women 
are fitter for it than men, for in such things they are 
more neat and patient. And again, in the Lumen de 
Lurnine — the excitation of the Fire is a very trivial, 
slight, almost a ridiculous thing ; nevertheless, all the 
secrets of corruption and generation are therein con- 
tained.^ Geber calls this furnace Athanor ; and from 
his example, others have described the same with a 
misleading subtlety, little commendable or instructive 
to any. 

But who knoiveth the power, the working, and kinde 

O^ every furnace, he maye well trexdh finde ; 

But he which thei-eof dwelleth in ignorance. 

All his worke faleth upon chance. 

Noe man is sure to have his Intent 

"Without full concord of arte with hys instrument. 

Mani more instruments occupied ye shall see 

Than in this chapter now rehearsed be, 

Which ye must ordayne by good or sad advice, 

And prove them before hand, if ye be wise.^ 

After showing that indeterminate instruments must 
be employed in the beginning, until the determinate 
shall declare themselves as by the Spirit they are 
proved fit, Norton proceeds in due order to point out 
the best local and other outward circumstances for 

1 Norton's Ordinal, cliaj^. vi. 

2 See Yaughan's Lumen de Lumine, &c. ; Coelum Terrae, p. 
118, &c. ; and Sendivogius's New Light ; and Eiren^us's Introitus 
Apertus, chap. viii. and xxiv, '.^q_. 

^ Ordinal, chap. vi. 

422 Laws and Conditions. 

carrying on the different Hermetic operations, as fol- 
lows : — 

The Fourth Concord is full notable 

Eetween this arte and places convenable. 

Some places must needs be ever more drie, 

Close from aier and no waies windy ; 

Some must be darke and dim of sight, 

In which Sun-beams none maye light ; 

But for some places., the trewth so is, 

Thei cannot have too much brightnes : 

Some places must needes be moist and cold, 

For some workes as Auctors toulde ; 

But in our workes in everie place, 

Wind will hurt in everie case : 

Therefore for every worke in season 

Ye must ordaine places by reason. 

Philosophers said, by their engine, 

How it should be wrought within locks 7}yne. 

Astrologers said it was a grace 

To finde a fitting ivorking j)lace : 

For manie things will wondrous doe 

In some places and elsewliere not soe ; 

But contrarie wonders be of one thinge. 

In contrarie coimtries wrought without leasing ; 

"Whereof none other cause maye appeare. 

But only contrarye places of the spheare : 

Wherto places contrairye of the grounde. 

To them concordant and obedient be founde ; 

Hereof great evidence and wittnes full cleare. 

In the Magnet's stone openly doth appeare, 

AV'hose north pointe drawoth towards his conntnje, 

AVhich uader the South Star driveth needles away. 

AV^herefore wuse men which for this Arte soughte. 

Found some places concordant, some places not.' 

Secrecy having heen a principal object with those 
practising this Art, difficulty was found often to secure 
this, and at the same time su})ply the other conditions, 
which vary with the constitution and instinct of the 
spiritual guide. Just such a locality as Virgil appoint- 
ed for his Bees, has been mentioned as desirable with 
all his appropriate allegorical exceptions of corrupt and 
evil associates. Strong currents of air are well known 

' Ordinal, chap. vi. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. 423 

to disturb communion ; and the entranced Subject is 
more or less susceptible cf all imaginative impressures, 
which, even after their act has passed away, hang and 
pollute the ether of their pertinacious abode, as adepts 
well testify, and Cornelius Agrippa, in his Occult Phi- 
losophy^ diffusely expounds, showing that truly 

It is a grace 
To finde a fitting working-place. 

The following lessons of an English Adept, neither 
antique nor envious, may not be uninstructive in con- 
clusion of the rest. — If thy desire leads thee on to 
the practice (that is of the ultimate Philosophic 
Work), says Vaughan, consider well with thyself what 
manner of man thou art, and what it is that thou 
wouldst do : For it is no small matter. Thou hast 
resolved with thyself to be a co-operator with the 
living God, and to minister to Him in his work of 
generation. Have a care, therefore, that thou dost 
not hinder his work ; for if thy heat exceeds the 
natural proportion, thou hast stirred up the wrath of 
the moist natures, and they will stand up against the 
central fire, and the central fire against them, and there 
will be a terrible division in the Chaos ; but the sweet 
spirit of Peace, the true eternal Quintessence, will de- 
part from the elements, leaving both them and thee 
to confusion ; neither will he apply himself to that 
Matter as long as it is in thy violent destructive 
Hands. We should always remember that doctrine of 
Zeno, that Nature gave us one tongue and two ears, 
that we might hear much and speak little. Let not 
any man therefore be ready to vomit forth his own 
shame and ignorance ; let him first examine his know- 
ledge, and especially his practice, lest upon the expe- 
rience of a few violent knacks he presume to judge of 
Nature in her very sobrieties. But if thou knowest 
the principal First Matter, know also for certain thou 
hast discovered the Sanctuary of Nature. There is 
nothing between thee and her treasures but the Door : 

424 Laws and Conditions. 

that indeed must be opened. Have therefore a chari- 
table seraphic mind, charitable and not destructive to 
thyself. There is in every true Christian a spice, I will 
not say a grain, of faith, for then we could work miracles. 
But know that as God is the Father, so Charity is the 
nurse of Faith. For there springs from charitable 
works, (fi'om the effects of spiritual beneficence,) a 
hope of heaven ; and who is he that will not gladly be- 
lieve what he hopes to obtain? On the contrary, 
there springs no hope at all from the works of dark- 
ness, and by consequence no faith, but that faith of 
devils to believe and tremble. — Settle not in the lees 
and puddles of the u'orld. Have thy heart in heaven 
and thy hands upon earth Ascend in piety and de- 
scend in charity. For this is the Nature of Light and 
the way of the children of it. Thou must live, as says 
Agrippa, according to God and the angels, rejecting 
all things that are dissimilar to the heaven ; otherwise 
thou canst have no communion with superiors. Lastly, 
Unas esto non solus. Avoid the multitude, as well of 
passions as of persons. And, in conclusion, I would 
have thee understand that every day is a contracted 
year, and that each year is as an extended day. An- 
ticipate the year in the day, and lose not a day in the 
year. Make use of indeterminate agents till thou 
canst find a determinate one : the many wish well, but 
one only loves. Circumferences spread, but centres 
contract : so superiors dissolve and inferiors coagulate ; 
stand not long in the su)i nor long in the shade, where 
extremes meet, there look for complexions. Learn 
from thy errors to be infallible, and from thy misfor- 
tunes to be constant. There is nothing stronger than 
Perseverance, for it ends in miracles.^ 

Abundant evidence might here be brought to bear ; 
but sufficient has been said for suggestive purposes, 
and addition would be as little likely to stimulate 
incjuiry without ])ractical information as to satisfy the 
incredulous. Nothing is more generally insisted on, 

^ Aiiinia INlagia Abscondita, p. 51, itc. ; Ca-luiii Terra-, p. 137. 

Mental Requisites and Impediments. . 425 

next to benevolence and rectitude of intention, than 
perseverance for this experiment ; and if to the fore- 
going instructions we add in sum, that effects ration- 
ally investigated lead into their causes, and that as the 
plant of its seed is reared, and according to its proper 
species germinates in a congenial soil, so in this phi- 
losophy the end is implied in the beginning, and the 
purpose is by the product made manifest — the motive, 
through the resulting action, by the metaphysical 
cause, into physical effect ; 

Qui capit, Ille Sapit. 

And with this advice we conclude our introduction, 
as it may be called, to the Sphinx's lair. — The first 
link in the chain of vital causes moves, as we apply 
the Master Key. 


Explicit, at Pbaxis ma^ualis c-eteea pandet. 





Of the Vital Purification, commonly called 
The Gross Work. 

Dii sudoribus vendunt Artes. — Arcanum Ignis Jquce Resp. 6. 

NEXT^.the preliminary aids already noted, and a 
sufficient theory to begin with, follows the Pre- 
paration of the Philosophic Subject, which is per- 
formed, says the Monk Basil, by operation of the 
Hands, that some real effect may be produced. From 
preparation arises knowledge, even such as opens all 
the fundamentals of Alchemy and Medicine. Opera- 
tion of the hands, continues he, requires a diligent 
application of itself, but the praise of the science con- 
sists in experience ; hence that notable maxim — Phy- 
sician, heal thyself. But the difference of these, ana- 
tomy (that which is spiritual) distinguisheth : operation 
shows thee how all things may be brought to light 
and exposed to sight visibly ; but knowledge, i. e. expe- 
rience, reveals the practice and shows further how to 
proceed, and that whence the true practitioner is, and 
is no other than a confirmation of the previous work : 
because the operation of the hands manifests some- 
thing that is good, and draws the latent and hidden 
nature outwards, and brings it to light for good. And 
thus, as in Divine things the way of the Lord is to be 
prepared, so also, in these (spiritual) things, the ivay 
has to be opened and prepared, that no error be made 
from the right path : but that progress may be made 
without deviation in the direct way to health. — 
AJanual operation is chiefly required, therefore ; with- 
out which, indeed, every other operation, like a ship 
without ballast, floats and is uncertain. But it is difficult 
to express this with a pen ; for more is learned by otice 


seeing the work done, than can be taught by the irriting 
of many pages} 

Although the Alchemists have written diffusely on 
the Manual Practice, and delivered many Keys, 
whereby, as they say, we may enter into the sanc- 
tuary of philosophy and open her interior recesses ; 
yet the first way of approach and shut entrance to 
these has not been unfolded, nor would it be possible, 
we think, for any one to discover the Practice from 
their books alone. For although it is called a play of 
children, and represented as a very trivial, slight, al- 
most a ridiculous thing, one linear decoction through- 
out and dissolution by line, yet neither instinct nor 
reason would probably suggest, without instruction, 
the tractive artifice now made publicly easy of en- 
trancing the senses in their own medial light. 

But recent observation has proved various means of 
effecting this, and determining the natural life to an in- 
traction of its beams, by the hand or eye of another mes- 
merising, or by a passive fixed gaze ; the virtues of ether 
and chloroform too are familiar, and in these days igno- 
rant] y preferred to the former expedients, since their 
effects are considered analogous and more easily sup- 
plied ; which however are very different, as proved by 
the contrariety of their cause. For, whereas the one, 
overcoming in light, oxygenates, purifies, and sublimes 
the arterial blood, and in proportion the intellectual 
powers ; the other contrariwise, by influxion of dark- 
ness, drowns the oxygenating spirit, prostrates and con- 
founds the mental powers, and, further overwhelming, 
often produces syncope and death. But we have no 
space to dwell here on errors that daily experience 
promises to remove. The ancients appear to have 
been acquainted with other analogous means and me- 
dia of curative repute ; other revolutionary arts, too, 
by which the human spirit may be involuted and con- 
verted to its proper spheres. But to eft'ect this was. 

' B.Valentinii Currus Triumphalis Antimonii, sub initio ; Kircli- 
ringiug in Basilio Idem nota. 


as we have repeatedly shown, a beginning only of the 
Hermetic art ; the medium in its natural state is vola- 
tile, immanifest, phantastic, irrational, and impotent, 
compared with what it subsequently is able and by 
artificial conception suffers itself to become. The Al- 
chemists, we repeat therefore, did not remain satisfied 
with a few passes of the hand, or any first phenomena 
whatever, but they proceeded at once scientifically to 
purify, depriving the ether of its wild affections and 
impressures by a dissolution of the circulating body 
in its own blood. For this is that Brazen Wall cele- 
brated by Antiquity, which surrounds our Heaven and 
must be scaled, and through past before any one can 
hope to discern the equilibriate felicity of Being within. 
— Take the occult Nature, which is our Brass, says 
Albertus, and wash it that it may be pure and clean ; 
dissolv^e, distill, sublime, incerate, calcine, and fix it ; 
the whole of which is nothing else than a successive 
dissolution and coagulation to make the fixed vola- 
tile, and volatile fixed. The beginning of the whole 
work is a perfect solution.^ 

Now, although there are many ways of including 
the sensible medium and of unfolding the interior 
hght temporarily, yet for the Purification we read but 
of one way, called by the Adepts, Manual, and their 
Linear icay, which supersedes all other fi-om begin- 
ning to end of the Dissolution. And, according to 
their general testimony, and for other explicable rea- 
sons, we judge that the Hand was the instrument em- 
ployed, not only to impart the Spirit as a natural gift, 
but by a continual mechanic trituration, as it were, to 
dissolve and ultimately obliterate its innate defects. The 
Mercury of philosophers, says LuUy, comes not but by 
help of ingenuity, and the Manual operations of man. 
And Vaughan says, Nature is not moved by theory 
alone, but by sagacious Handicraft and human assist- 
ance. — Nature cannot of herself enter into the disso- 

1 Secret. Tract. Albert! Mag. in fine ; Ars Aurifer«6, p. 130, and / ^ 
another. / 


lution, says the author of the Filiun Ariadne, because 
she has no Hands, — The Hand, says Van Helmont, is 
the instrument of instruments, which the soul hkewise 
useth, as a means by which it bears its image into 
operation.^ We could bring together a multitude of 
passages showing the literal application of these, but 
have a doubt about the utihty, since they would prove 
nothing to unbelievers ; and those who are disposed to 
inquire for themselves, looking to context and proba- 
bility, may be i:eadily convinced. We are less than ever 
anxious at this late stage of inquiry to persuade others, 
or induce trial of the practice where theoretic power is 
deficient ; but leave the incredulous therefore to their 
incredulity, until faith has independently estabhshed 
the fact over their heads. For neither will the pre- 
lude of Hermetic practice be attractive to the idle, but 
continual labour is exacted throughout the perform- 
ance — patient toil, skill, unremitting attention, in the 
execution, and a free will to the discovery of error, 
without discordant slurring or disguise. 

He that neglects the knowledge, being disheartened 
by the difficulties thereof, shall never find where the 
disease lieth, says Crollius, for these Chemical Secrets 
will never be fingered by those slothful or sottish de- 
spisers of them, by reason of their indisposition and 
unaptness for Manual operation. As also of the profane, 
lewd, and unworthy, there will be little danger of their 
apprehending and discerning Divine Mysteries ; because 
they want the spirit of Wisdom, and are not quick of un- 
derstanding in these things.^ — Some indeed, amongst 
the ignorant and pseudo-chemists, says Eiren^us, ima- \(^^' 
gine that our w^ork is a mere recreation and amuse- 
ment from beginning to end, holding indeed the 
labour of this artifice in light account. In the work 
which they account so easy, however, we observe they 
reap an empty harvest for their idling pains ; we know, 

^ R. Lullii Theoria et Practica ; Yauglian, Coolum Terra; ; Le 
Filet d' Ariadne, circa med..; Norton, Ordinal, c. iv. Helmont, 
Oreatrike, Introd. and cap. c. 

^ Crollius Phil. p. 10. 


next the Divine blessing and a good principle to begin 
with, that it is by assiduity and industry that we ac- 
comphsh the First Work. Nor is the work so easy 
that it should be considered as a mental recreation, 
either (since a concentrated attention is necessary) , but 
according to the labour we do likewise reckon the 
reward ; as Hermes says — I spared no labour either of 
mind or body; which also verifies that proverb of 
Solomon — The desire of the idle shall cause him to 
perish. Neither is it wonderful that so many chemical 
students were in former times reduced to poverty, since 
they spared labour, but no expense. But, continues 
the same author, we, who know the truth, have 
worked, and we know beyond doubt that there is no 
work more tedious than our First Operation, concern- 
ing which Morien gravely warns King Calid, saying 
that many philosophers had been overcome with the 
fatigue of this work. Neither would I have these 
things understood figuratively, continues he ; I am not 
speaking here indeed of the commencement of the 
Supernatural Work, but of things as wejirst find them : 
and to ivell dispose the ;//r//^tv, this truly is a labour and 
a work.^ 

The work of philosophers, says Arnold, is to dissolve 
the Stone in its own Mercury, that it may be reduced 
into its first Matter. — Opus namque philosophorum, 
est dissolvere Lapidem in suum Mercurium, ut in pri- 
mam reducatur materiam.^ This labour has, by the 
author of the Hermetic Secret, Urbigeranus, and 
some others, been styled a Labour of Hercules. For 
there is such a mass of heterogeneous superfluities 
adhering to our subject, that nothing short of disso- 
lution can give it rest ; and^ wMeli Adepts say, it v/ill '"IKJIaoA- 
be entirely impossible to accomplish without the Theory 
of their Arcanum, in which they show the medium by 
which the Royal Diadem may be extracted from our 
Sordid Subject. And even when this is known, con- 
tinual labour is required in the application, lest re- 

^ Introit. Apert. cap. viii. ; Morieni de Trans. MelaL 
2 Arnoldi llosar, cap. ix. lib. i. 

F F 

434 Hermetic Practice. 

maining in any pavt, if left alone, before the total solu- 
I tion of her enigma, the Sphinx should retrieve her 
X- / dominion unawares and frustrate the work begun — 
(JL Tere, coque, et reitera, et non te 4^eat — Grind, coct, 

' says the wise author of the Rosarium, and reiterate 
. your labour and be not weary. ^ Work not to-day and 
be sorry to-morrow ; but lay sorrow aside and continue 
your labour steadfast unto the end, lest perad venture 
God hoodwink and make open the Light, says the 
Spirit to Dr. Dee ; the labour is equal to the work, and 
to fight against the Powers of Darkness requires great 
force. '^ And let him who would learn, says Van Hel- 
mont, buy coals and fire, and discover those things 
which watching successive nights, and expenses, have 
afforded to philosophers.^ Kings and powerful princes 
have not been ashamed to set their hand to the work 
in order to seek out, by their sweat and labours, the 
secret of Nature, which they have faithfully be- 

Ardua prima via est ; et quii vix mane recentes 
Enitantur eqiii.'^ 

Fresh horses there are verily needed to this Celestial 
Ploughshare and laborious assistance for a toil that is 
incessant, to clear the wasted field of human life, and 
harrow it for a more congenial growth : nor once nor 
twice ; but many times the labour must be repeated, 
as each dying is renewed into a better life. This the 
wise poet, in his Georgics, teaches ; and this recals to 
mind the advice of Norton and his brother Adepts 
about the choice of servants, their capacities and qua- 
lifications, which moreover are tried in a double, 
single, manifold, and triply complicated sense. All the 
operators, says Zachary, supply themselves with three or 
four, sometimes ten, furnaces or more — as for solution, 

' Eosar. cap. iii 

- Dee's Couversat. sub. init. 

2 Oreatrike, fol. p. 710. 

* Digbv's Luc-enia Salis, Dialog. 

^ Ovidii :Metam. lib. i. Gi. 

The Gross Work. 435 

sublimation, calcination- -and the wr//^<^r passes througli 
vessels innumerable ; but not all would avail without 
a Method in their distribution ; one would not advance 
in effect beyond another, unless the operation were 
altered ; there is indeed but one way of working, in one 
matter, one linear way throughout, one vessel uniform 
throughout, excepting removal. Unicus operandi mo- / 

dus in unico vase, in unica fornacula, praetei^ moti- - G-- > 
onem, donee decoctio compleatur.^ 

The Preparing Spirit dissolves the body of Light, 
and cleanses it from the corrupting causes, and extracts 
a Second Spirit subsisting and tinging in the body, and 
reduces the bodies by dissolution into itself; and these, 
says the Adept, are the advantages of the Spirit pre- 
paring its body and extracting from it the tinging 
spirit : for this Argent vive was at first gross, unclean, 
fugitive, being mingled with extraneous Sulphurs ; but 
by the operation of Art it is cleansed and renewed, 
and coagulated by its own internal sulphur, red and 
white, and is double ; not viscous, but acidulated, sub- 
tle, and very penetrative, resolving the bodies mineral. 

But our evidence runs in advance ; as we remark 
by the way that this Argent vive, which is de- 
cocted lineally, is generated pontically, as it were 
by a reciprocal alternation, distributing its advanced / / 
virtue from hand to hand. — And know, says Eireneus, 'Q^l 
that the exact preparation of the philosophic Eagles 
may be considered the first degree of perfection in this 
Art, in the knowledge of which there is required also 
some sagacity of mind. For do not suppose that this 
science has become known to any of us by chance, or 
by a happy guess of the imagination; but we have 
worked and sweated daily, and passed many sleepless 
nights, much labour and sweafuig iwXy ^'Q have under- 
gone in the pursuit of truth. You, therefore, that are 
but beginning, as a tyro, in this study, be assured that 
nothing can be achieved in the First Operation without 
sweating and much labour. In the Second, however, 

' Zacharius Opusc. Lucerna Salis, p. 96. 
F F 2 

43(J Hermetic Practice. 

Nature alone operates, and without any imposition of 
hands, by the sole assistance of a wt/I-reguiiitt'd ex- 
ternal Jwe} 

Avicen, in Porta, wrote, if ye remember, 
How ye shoulde proceede perfection to engender, 
Trewly teaching as the pure treuth was, 
Comedas lit bibas, etbibas ut comedas ; 
Eatt as it drinketh and drink as it doth eafce, 
And in the meane season, take it a perfect sweate. 
Rasis set the dietary and spake some deale far, 
Non tamen comedat res festiuanter ; 
Let not your matters eate over hastilie, 
But wisely consume their foode leisnrelie. 
Hereof the prophet made wondrous mention, 
If ye apply it to this intention 
Visitasti terram et inebriasti eam, 
Multiplicasti locupletare eam, 
Terram fructiferam in salsuginem 
Et terram sine aqua in exitus aquarum. 
If I have plenty of meate and drinke. 
]\Ien must wake when they desire to winke ; 
For it is labor of watch and paines greate, 
Alsoe the foode is full costly meute. 
Therefore all poore men beware, says Arnolde, 
For this Art 'longeth to greate men of the worldo. 
Trust to his words, ye poore men all. 
For I am witness, that soe ye finde shall. 
Esto longanimus et suavis, said he, 
For hasty men th' end shall never see. 
The length of clensing matters infected 
Deceiveth much people for that is unsuspected. 
Excess for one half quarter of an hour 
May destroy all ; therefore chief succour, 
In primum pro quo et ultimum pro quo non 
To know the simperings of our Stone, 
Till it may no more simper do, nor cease, 
"/mA^^^^^^ -^^*^ y®^ ^*^^g continuance may not cause increase. 

' ' I Remember that water will bubble and boyle, 

yy^ But butter must simj^er and also oyle ; 

' And so with long leisure it will waste, 

And not with bubbling made in haste. ^ 

Frequent advices are given against haste in the pre- 
paration, lest the centres should be stirred up before 

^ Introitus Apertus, cap. vii. 
^ Ordinal, chap. iv. 

The Gross Work. 437 

the circumferences are made ready to conceive them ; 
and we may observe that CEdipus, he who of yore over- 
came the Sphinx, was lame and impotent in his feet, 
signifying by this (amongst other abstruse alkisions), 
that we should not make too much haste to the solu- 
tion of her riddle, lest she should expound herself with- 
out a proper understanding unawares — Alciatus, paint- 
ing a dolphin wreathed about an anchor, for an emblem, 
wrote these w^ords — Festina Lente — Make not too 
much haste — which admonition applies not only well 
to the common affairs of life, but especially to the 
trituration of the Philosophic Subject, which ought to 
be slow, gentle, and continuous. 

Gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe cadendo. 

And therefore the Adepts, again and again, admonish 
and caution, lest by too great excitation the internal 
agent awakening should cause a disseveration in the 
Chaos, and the two Principles stand up one against the 
other, before the intended mastery is secure. — Cause, 
therefore, wings to be prepared for the Matter by Juno, 
. Bacchus, and Vulcan ; but as you love your Life, says 
fee, permit it not to fly suddenly, rather deliver it to 
Mercury, to be instructed by him gradually to accus- 
tom itself to flying ; yea, bind it with a cord, lest (as 
a bird got out of its cage and past your reach) it 
through ignorance approach too near the Sun, and like 
Icarus, having its unproved feathers burnt, fall head- 
long into the sea ; but after you have detained it for 
its due time, loose its bonds that it may fly and come 
to those fortunate Islands towards which all the sons . f nJ^J^ 
of Art direct their sight, and whereunto all Adepti«te^ ^/ \^^^^^ 
aim to arrive as to their long-desired and sought for / 
harbour.^ Take the flying bird, says Hermes, and 
drown it flying; and divide and separate it from its 
redness, which holds it in death ; draw it forth and 
repel it from itself, that it may live and answer thee 
not by flying away indeed to the region above, but 
truly by forbearing to fly. For if thou shalt dehver 

^ Kirchringius, in Basilio, Latin, 12mo. p. 160; Eng. 74. 

438 Hermetic Practice. 

it out of its prison, after this thou shalt govern it 
according to Reason and according to the days specified; 
then it will become ajl companion to thee, and by it 
thou shalt become to be an honoured Lord. Extract 
from the ray its shadow and its obscurity, by which 
the clouds hang over it and corrupt, and keep away 
the light by means of its constriction also, and fiery 
redness, it is burned. Take, my son, this watery cor- 
rupted redness, which is, as a live coal holding the fire, 
which if thou shalt withdraw so often until the redness 
is made pure, then it will associate with thee, by whom 
it w^as cherished and in whom it rests. ^ 

He that would seek tincture most specious, 
Must needly avoid all things wild and vicious ; 
Of manifold means each hath his property 
To do his office after his degree, 
With them hid things be outset 
Some that will help, and some that woulde let. 
AVho woulde have trew worke may no labour spare, 
Neither yet his purse, though he make it full bare ; 
And in the Gross AVorke he is furthest behind, 
That dayly desireth the end thereof to finde. 
If the Gross Worke'with all his circumstance 
Were done in three years it were a blessed chance.^ 

This is meant chiefly in reference to the Second 
Operation, and the periods are often to be understood 
metaphorically with respect to the discovery of the 
philosophic Salt. Some have met the Light sooner, 
some later, and the natural periods are protracted by 
faulty conditions from the commencement, by the in- 
disposition of patients, as by the ignorance of agents, 
which things also are more or less implied. Years 
have been employed by some in the Preparation, the 
perplexity of the records have added to the natural 
difficulty, and to others it has never been vouchsafed. 
Eireneus, mentioning his case as remarkably favoured, 
says that in the course of two years and a half the 
whole Arcanum was revealed to him. — I made, says 
he, not five wrong experiments in it before I found the 

^ Tract. Aur. cap. ii. 

^ Norton's OrdinalK cap. iv. 

The Gross Work. 439 

true way, although in some particular turnings of the 
Eneheiresis I erred often ; yet, so that in my error I 
knew myself a master, and in no less than two full 
years and a half, of a vulgar ignoramus I became a 
true Adept, and have the secret through the goodness 
of God. ^ 

It is to be imagined that the better foundation there 
is laid in theory from the commencement, other things 
being equal, the surer, easier, and more rapid would 
be the result ; but from books, general principles only 
can be gathered, and instruction from particular expe- 
rience. The working theory, as we long ago suggested, 
can be obtained through the practice only ; for the 
way developes itself in the practice by rational inqui- 
sition of the Light within. And this may be a matter 
of gratulation to students, •tbui- whilst adepts are so 
very abstruse and envious in their disguises, to learn 
that the Hermetic Art is not so much the offspring of 
natural intelligence as of involved thought. Ab actio- 
jiibus procedit speculatio is a famous maxim of Aris- 
totle's and eminently applies to this philosophy, where 
each discovery opens into a new field of inquiry, and 
the fruit of contemplation is ever more sown in order 
to bring about the solution of its proper dilemma in 
the explanatory growth of truth. 

Not all by reading, uor by long sitting still ; 
Nor fond conceit, nor working all by will ; 
But, as I said, by grace it is obtained : 
Seek grace therefore, let foola be refrained.^ 

Seek grace ; and, by importunity of reason, seek for 
the clue of Truth within the Spirit's life ; if haply she 
may find it, or we be able to discover whether she 
have it or not — That which analyzes even must be 
analyzed ; that, returning analytically, it may resolve 
the separable Selfhood and reiterate the same by al- 
ternation until it arrives at the inseparable Unit of 
Truth. — Liber lib rum explicit — And this is the way of 

^ Hipley Revived, p. 87. 

^ See Kelly's Verses in Ashmole's Theatrum. 

440 Hermetic Practice. 

rational permeation, by the Understanding of Nature, 
into her Causal Light. 

So shalt thou instant reach the realms assigu'd 
In wondrous ships self-moved, instinct with mind ; 
No helm secures their course, no pilot guides ; 
Like man intelligent they plough the tides, 
Conscious of every coast and every bay. 
That lies beneath the Sun's all-seeing ray ; 
And, veiled in clouds impervious to the eye. 
Fearless and rapid through the deep they fly ! ^ 

And that court of King Alcinous, to which Ulysses 
became admitted, is the dominion of Intellect, which, 
in the description of these Phoeacian ships, also, is 
admirably signified ; the hyperbole, in fact, would be 
absurd without other reference, and the well-illumined 
Taylor has shown, in his Dissertation, that the \;ho\e of 
the Odyssey is an allegory pregnant with latent mean- 
ing and the recondite Wisdom of antiquity. 

Here again, then, we observe that it is not from a 
moderate study or a few spontaneous revelations of the 
Spirit's \drtue, or natural instinct, that we should pre- 
sume to judge of the Hermetic JNIystery ; since brazen 
walls and adamantine are between, and all the breadth 
of that vast sea to be passed over before we can hope 
to set foot upon the royal coast ; a sea — 

Huge, horrid, vast — where scarce in safety sails 
The best built ship, tho' Jove inspires the gales.^ 

Even with these advantages, and after the first flood- 
gates and barriers of sense are overpast, greater ob- 
stacles await him, and Herculean labours, who dares, 
approaching to the Nether confines, to make choice of 
Light. No one may hope, without toil and perseve- 
rance, to obtain it. Wisdom is the reward of volun- 
tary and arduous research. Perseus passed through 
dangerous encounters, strugghng with monstrous Chi- 
meras ; and Theseus before Ariadne vouchsafed her 
love and assistance ; Bacchus, Ulysses, Hercules, and 

' Pope's Homer's Odyssey, lib. viii. 55, &c. 
- Idem. 


The Gross Work. 441 

the rest ; Jason, also, passing through many hopes and 
fears, and performing dangerous feats and supernatural 
labours, before Medea led him to the Field of Mars. 

For the Gross "Worke is foul in lier kinde, 
Aud full of perills as ye shall finde, 
No man's wit can him so availe 
But that sometimes he shall make a faile : 
As well the layman, so shall the clerke, 
And all that labor in the gross w^orke. 
Wherefore Anaxagoras said trewly thus — 
Nemo prima fronte reperitur discretus.^ 

They all set forth expectant heroes only in the begin- 
ning, content also with the company of their rude de- 
serts, and it is satisfactory to learn with all this pro- 
spective discouragement, that 

He that shall end it once for certaiue 
Shall never have neede to begin agaiue. 

Much I might write of the Nature of Mynes, 
Which in the gross icorke be but engines ; 
For in this worke find ye nothing shall, 
But handle crafte, called Art mechanical. 
Wherein a hundred wayes and moe, 
Te may commit a fault as ye therein goe. 
Wlierefore believe what old Auctors tell ; 
Without experience ye may not do well. 
Consider all circumstances, and set your deligte 
To keep Uniformity of all things requisite ; 
Use one manner of vessel in matter and in shape, 
Beware of Commixtion that nothing miscape. 
And hundredth foidtes in speciall 
Te may make under this warning generall. 
Nethlesse this doctrine woll suffice 
To him that can in practice be wise. 
If your ministers be witty and trew, 
Such shall not need your workes to renew. ^ 

And here we may bethink ourselves how Flamiuel V 
learned discretion from his Second Book, and how 
Eiren^us promises a guide, and describes him too in 
his Ripley Revived. And, in Vulcan's labours, says 
,J£8knrath, I have worked indefatigably with no small 
expense, but, thanks to God, my own alone; now in 
companionship, and now not ; both happily sometimes, 

^ Ordinal, cap. iv. 
2 Idem. 

442 Hermetic Practice. 

sometimes without success. But how should he do 
well who never has done amiss ? What was wrong 
taught me what w'as right, from day to day one book 
throicing light iipoji another, I was enabled to inter- 
pret them. / observed what nature taught by the 
ministry of art. O thou edifying Cabal of much 
profit ! O thou Physico-Chemical Cabal ! how hath 
she not advanced me ! Meanwhile, carefully keeping 
note of conversations, experiments, and conceptions of 
my own as well as others : when ye, my cotempo- 
raries, were idly dozing, I was watching and at work. 
Meditating earnestly day and night on w^hat I had seen 
and learnt — sitting, standing, recumbent, by sunshine 
and moonshine, by banks, in meadows, streams, 
woods, and mountains.' And thus w'c read, in the 
Hermetic at Triumph, how the Stone of Philosophers, 
which is a pure petrifaction of the Spirit, is prepared 
by those who trace nature with the assistance of the 
Lunar Vulcan ; by which Lunar Vulcan, as we long 
ago suggested, is meant the first prepared Subject, 
which is also called Diana, and the secret natural interior 
Fire of Adepts, and because this same Lunar Caustic 
is brought into act by an exterior excitation. — Sol est 
Fons totius caloris, Luna autem Domina Humiditatis. 
The ethereal humidity nourishes the Solar^ Light and 
educates it ; and this is that Nemean Lion said to be 
born of her foam. 

AVith respect to the rule of Investigation, however, 
having opened thus much, we would add a few re- 
marks, for neither is it said to be expedient to inquire 
about Ends so much as about things pertaining to 
ends, the Artist holding his right intention from the 
beginning. This principle Aristotle, in his Ethics, as- 
tutely argues. For neither, he obsen^es, does a phy- 
sician consult whether he shall heal the sick, nor a rhe- 
torician whether he shall persuade, nor the politician 
whether he shall establish an equitable legislation, nor 
does any one of remaining characters consult about 

' Amph. Sap. Etern. in medio. 

The Gross Work. 443 

the End. But, proposing a certain end, they consider 
how and by what Medium it may be obtained. If 
also it appears that this end is to be obtained through 
many media, they consider through which of them it 
may be obtained in the easiest and best manner. But 
if through one medium they consider how it may be 
accomphshed, and through what Hkewise this may be 
obtained until they arrive at the First Cause which is 
discovered in the last place. For he who consults, 
continues the artful moralist, appears to investigate 
and analyze in the above-mentioned manner, as if he 
were investigating and analyzing a diagram.^ 

Even so, in the Hermetic Inquiry, he who consults, 
the end being proposed which is not immediately in his 
power, investigates the Medium by which he hopes to 
obtain it ; and if this Medium be not entirely enhghten- 
ed, he explores another, and further till he discovers the 
first Medium which is immediately in his power, in the 
discovery of which inquiry terminates, and the work, 
beginning from thence, passes into accomplishment. 
That Medium, therefore, which is last in the analysis 
is first in generation, being proved able to the accom- 
plishment, and of the many called to the consultation 
of means few are chosen to proceed with the Philoso- 
phic Work. For philosophers were not wont to in- 
vestigate trifles, but they inquired about such things 
as tend to purification and the method of perfect- 
ing life. And when things, thus truly eligible, are 
the objects of inquiry, the Divine Will being con- 
cihated. Wisdom runs lovingly by her own rule to 
fulfil it ; and hence our deeds and discourses extend 
their Hands, as it were, to assist us in our assent, and 
Will is the greatest power of purgation. And when 
That which from the first is efficacious returns into 
its proper Efficient, how much more will not those 
strokes, reverberating, be effectual to overcome ? 

Ille plus Cheieon justissimus omnes 
Inter Nubigenas et Magni Doctor Achillis. 

This is he who, in his double capacity of Power and 

1 jS'iclioraacbean Ethics, book iii. cap. iii. 

444 Hermetic Practice. 

Motive in alliance, corrects and educates the Heroic 
Fire, tames and directs its illimitable vdrtue, and rectifies 
the Armed Magnet by an infallible rule. And that 
Intellect rides through the abyss of the sensual mo- 
narchy, secure in its Ether ; and, as a ship upon the 
stormy seas is directed by the beacon-light, it follows 
until integrally related, when, centre meeting centre, 
the consciousness transcends in revolutionary Light. 

We know that, in common life, the hands perform 
innumerable offices and image mind about, by mate- 
rial subjects, in a variety of ways. And as the mind 
more easily retains that which the hand before has 
noted by its exterior sense; so, in Hermetic works, the 
hand is found best able to express and impart what 
the mind has well premeditated : and thence, from its 
replenished members, thought carries itself by volun- 
tary motion into effect. Such were those Dactyli 
Idrei, literally the Fingers of Mount Ida, so renowned 
in fable for their medicinal and magic skill, who 
worked, it is said, at the foot of the Parnassian Moun- 
tain to exhibit by their incessant fiery artifice the me- 
tallic veins therein imbedded.^ So Pallas is fabled, by 
the help of Vulcan, to have been brought forth from 
Jove ; for, without the instrumentality of Motion, 
which the lame god personates, the Fabricative Intel- 
lect is not born. But if thereafter it should happen, 
says the wise Adept, that Pluto's Palace should be ex- 
posed to any one together with Minerva's Artifice, or 
if Vulcan stands together with her at the Altar there, 
the Association is ominous. 

Coexistunt namque naturalia opera mentali splendore, 
Vitifer Ignis, 

Centre incitans seipsum lumine resouante. 
Fontanum alium, qui Einpyreum mundum ducit, 
Centrum quo omues, usque quo forte equales fueriut.^ 

To instruct the ignorant is no part of the present 
object; but to stimulate the inquiry of such as are 

1 See Bell's Pantlieon, p. 209. 

2 Oracula Chaldeor. Muudus, Anima, Natura. 

The Gross Work. 445 

already enlightened, and to advance the faithful in the 
pursuit of truth, we conclude with such instructions 
as may be finally needful concerning this said hyper- 
physical Gross Work. 

The Second part of the Gross Work is described by 
Vaughan as one of the greatest subtleties of the Art ; 
Cornelius Agrippa, he observes, knew the First Pre- 
paration, and has clearly discovered it ; but the diffi- 
culty of the Second made him almost an enemy to his 
own profession. By the Second Work we are to un- 
derstand, therefore, the Solution of the Philosophic 
Salt (/. e. the voluntary bond) ; which is a secret which 
Agrippa did not rightly know, as it appears by his 
practice at Malines, and as he confesses in the first 
book of Occult Philosophij, that he could not increase 
the transmutative virtue, nor would Natalius teach 
him for all his frequent and serious entreaties. This 
was it, adds his disciple, that made his necessities so 
vigorous and his purse so weak, that I can seldom find 
him at full fortune. But in this he is not alone: Ray- 
mond Lully received not this mystery either from 
Arnold, but, in his first practices, he followed the com- 
mon tedious process which after all is scarcely profit- 
able. Here he met with a drudgery almost invincible. 
Ripley also laboured for new inventions to putrify this 
Red Salt which he enviously calls his Gold; and his Art 
w^as to expose it to alternate fits of heat and cold, but 
in this he is singular ; Faber is so wise that he will 
not understand him. Let us return then to Raymond 
Lully, who became so great a master that he performed 
the Solution in nine days, and this secret he had from 
God himself since this is his profession. — Nos, says he, 
de prima ilia nigredine a paucis cognita benignum 
Spiritum extrahere affectantes, pugnam ignis vincen- 
tem, et nos victum, licet sensibus corporis multoties 
palpa^amus, et oculis propriis ilium vidimus ; Extrac- 
tionis tamen ipsius notitiam nos habuimus quacumque 
scientiarum vel arte : ideoque sentiebamus nos adhuc 
aliqua rusticitate excsecatos, quia nuilo modo eam 

446 Hermetic Practice. 

comprehendere valuimus, donee alius Spiritus prophe- 
iioe, spiralis a Patre Luminum deseendit, tanquam 
suos nuUatenus deserens, aut a se postulantibus defi- 
ciens, Qui in somniis tantam elaritatem mentis nos- 
tr?e oculis infulsit ut Illam intus et extra, remotaomni 
figura, gratis revelare dignatus est insatiabili bonitate 
nos reficiendo demonstrans, ut ad earn implendam dis- 
poneremus corpus ad unam naturalem decoctionem 
secretam, qua penitus ordine retrogrado cum pungenti / 
lancea totaejus natura in meram nigredinam visibiliter /^ 

In the first act of the physico-chemical works, ex- 
plains Kuhnrath, by diverse instruments and labours 
and the various artifice of the Hands and of Fire, 
from Adrop, (which in its proper tongue is called Sa- 
turn, /". e. the Lead of the Wise,) our heart of Saturn, 
the bonds of coagulation being dexterously relaxed, 
the Green Duenech and the Vitriol of Venus, which 
are the true matters of the Blessed Stone will appear. 
The Green Lion, lurking and concealed, is drawn forth 
from the Cavern of his Saturnine Hill by attractions 
and allurements suitable to his nature. All the blood 
copiously flowing from his wounds, by the acute lance 
transfixed, is diligently collected iiie and ////"; the mud 
earth, wet, humid, stagnant, impure, partaking of 
Adam, the First Matter of the creation of the Greater 
World of our very selves and of our potentStone,is made 
manifest — the Wine which the Wise have called the 
Blood of the Earth, which likewise is the Red of 
Lully, so named on account of its tincture which is the 
colour of its virtue, thick, dense, and black, blacker 
than black, will then be at Hand ; the bond by which 
the soul is tied to the body and united together with 
it into one substance is relaxed and dissolved. The 
Spirit and the Soul by degrees depart from the body 
and are separated step by step ; whilst this takes place 
the fixed is made volatile, and the impure body (of the 
Spirit) from day to day is consumed, is destroyed, 

^ See the passage quoted in Vaughan's Preface to the Fame 
and Confession of tlie K. C. 

The Gross Work. 447 

dies, blackens, and goes to Ashes. These Ashes, 
my Son, deem not of little worth ; they are the diadem 
of thy body ; in them lies our pigmy, conquering and 
subduing giants. In the Second Operation, which takes 
place in one circular crystalline vessel justly proportion- 
ed to the quality of its contents, also in one theoso- 
phic cabalistically sealed furnace of Athanor, and by 
one fire, the body, spirit, and soul, externally washed 
and cleansed and purged with the most accurate dili- 
gence and Herculean labours, and again compounded, 
commingle, rot of themselves and without manual co- 
operation, by the sole labours of nature, are dissolved, 
conjoined, and reunited ; and thus the fixed becomes 
volatile wholly ; these three principles also are of 
themselves coagulated, diversifiedly coloured, calcined, 
and fixed ; and hence the World arises renovated and 

Here then lies the Gordian Knot of the Hermetic 
Mystery — and who is he that is able to untie it, en- 
quires the philosopher? — Qui scit Salem et ejus solu- 
tionem, scit secretum occultum antiquorum philoso- 
phorum. — He w^ho knows the Salt and its solution, 
knows the secret of the Ancient Sages. And if it be 
again asked who '? We have already named him, and 
openly; but this Light shining everywhere in Dark- 
ness, how hardly should it be comprehensible without 

Janua clausa est, vah quae lamentabilis hsec vox ; 
Orcina sed frustra pulsabitis ostia pugnis > 
Vestrse namque Manus uequeunt difiirigere ferrum. 

What then ought we to be doing, since hands and in- 
tellect are here alike incapable, and the truth of this dis- 
covery was never yet put to paper, and for this suffi- 
cient reason, that it is proper alone, as LuUy says, to 
God to reveal it; since it is His alone prerogative, and 
no mortal can communicate it to another unless the 
Divine Will be with him. — Not every messenger, says 

^ Kwiinratli, x\mpliitlieat. Sap. Isag. in fig. c. 


448 Hermetic Practice. 

Van Helmont, approaeheth to the mine of Stones ; 
but he alone, who, being loosed ft-om his bonds, has 
known the wars, being fitted for his journey, a friend 
to the places and who has virtue. They err, there- 
fore, who ascribe this single combat only to Corro- 
sives ; to wit, they too much trusting to Second quali- 
ties, as being ill secure, do sleep thereupon, and 
through a neglecting of specifical qualities, also ap- 
propriated ones, (which are only extended on their 
proper object,) being slighted, they have gone into Ob- 
scurity. For the Ostrich does not digest iron or little 
birds flints, through an emulous quality of corrosion ; 
but there is a virtue of loosing the bars and bolts of 
Tartar. It is convenient to meditate about this virtue, 
continues the physician, and of what I have spoken ; 
blessed be that God of Wonders, who hath sometimes 
converted the Water into Rocks, and at other times the 
Rocks into pools of Water. ^ Who then shall ascend 
into the Mountain of the Lord, or who shall stand in 
His Holy Place? He that hath clean hands and a 
pure heart, who hath not given up his soul unto vanity 
nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing 
from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his 

We do not quote casually, or because the Scriptural 
phrase is popular ; but because it is apt, as seen and 
proved on the Divine Ground ; where man indeed may 
experiment, plough, plant, and irrigate, but cannot of 
himself (or in alliance, unless he dare a deadly sin,) 
compel the Divine Blessing without its free accord. — 
Wisdom was with thee, says the PTermctic Master ; it 
was not gotten by thy care, nor, if it be freed from 
redness, by thy study. '^ So neither, it is written, is he 
that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but 
God, that giveth the increase.^ He therefore must be 
propitiated, not by prayer and supplication alone, but 

^ Oreatrike, cap. vi. p. 710. 

^ Tract. Aur. cap. iv. 

^ 1 Corinth, cap. iii. v. 7. 

The Gross Work. 449 

by faithful and charitable works preparing the way be- 
fore Him ; nor would it be thought astonishing, per- 
haps, if Antimony should cause a sudden transpiration, 
or that an Iron Key should help to unlock a treasury 
of fine Gold. Desire leads into its object by faith im- 
mediately ; but mediately, by just works, that hope is 
engendered which, kindling into faith, by ecstacy, pene- 
trates to its First Source. — Our Antimony, says Basil 
Valentine, which is fixed, searcheth out fixed diseases 
and eradicates them ; which purgers, not fixed, cannot 
do ; but they do only carry away some spoil from dis- 
eases ; or they may be compared to water which, driven 
by force through a street, penetrates not the earth 
itself Fixed remedies purge not by the inferior parts, 
because that is not the true way of expelling fixed 
venoms ; and that way they would not touch the Ker- 
nel, as it may be called, or centre of the disease ; but 
by expelling sweat, and otherwise, they strike at the 
very inmost root of the disease, not contented with a 
certain superficial expulsion of filths. Therefore we 
admonish all and every one, that all venomous impu- 
rity is totally to be taken away from Antimom/, before 
it can either be called a medicine truly or adminis- 
tered with safety — in other words, that all arrogant 
self-will, sensuality, folly, avarice, and variability of 
purpose, all but the one voluntary faith to rectify and 
perfect, be removed from the mind of him who is to 
enter into the radical dissolution of Life. For the 
weapons of this warfare are not carnal, as the Apostle 
teaches, but mighty through God to the pulling down 
of strong holds ; casting down imaginations, and every 
high thing that exalteth itself against the Knowledge 
of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to 
the obedience of Christ.^ And for this cause, con- 
tinues the Monk, the good must be separated from 
the evil, the fixed from the unfixed, the medicine 
from the venom, with accurate diligence, if we hope 
by the use of Antimony to obtain true honour and 

' 2 Corinthians, x. 4, 5. 
G G 

450 Hermetic Practice. 

true utility ; but Fire only can effect that, and Vulcan 
is the sole and only master of all these. Whatsoever 
the Vulcan in the Greater Orb leaves crude and per- 
fects not, that in the Lesser World must be amended 
by a certain other Vulcan, ripening the immature, and 
cocting the crude by heat, and separating the pure 
from the impure. That this is possible, no man will 
doubt ; for daily experience teaches the same, and it is 
very apparent in the corporeal aspect of colours which 
proceed from the Fire. For by Separation and Fire, 
•which perfects its fixation, venomosity is taken away, 
and a change is made of the evil into good ; therefore 
Fire is the Separation of Venom from the Medicine, 
and of good and evil ; which however is a thing that 
none of the physicians either dares or can truly and 
fundamentally own or demonstrate, unless he who 
hath firmly contracted friendship with Vulcan, and in- 
stituted the Fiery bath of Love.^ 

There is one operation of heat, says Vaughan, 
whose method is vital and far more mysterious than 
all other, and there be but few of that Spirit that can 
comprehend it : But because I will not leave thee 
without some satisfaction, I advise thee to take the 
Monn of the Firmament, which is a middle Nature, 
and place her so that every part of her may be in two 
elements at one and the same time ; these elements 
also must equally attend her body ; not one further off, 
nor one nearer than the other. In the regulation of 
these there is a twofold geometry to be observed, na- 
tural and artificial. Flammel also, speaking of the 
Solar and Lnnar Mercury, and the plantation of the 
one in the other, gives this instruction. Take them, 
he says, and cherish them over a fire in thy Alembic ; 
but it must not be a fire of coals, nor of any wood, 
but a bright shining fire like the Sun itself, whose heat 
must neither be excessive, but always of one and the 
same degree.'- Our operation, concludes Morien, is 

^ Triump. Chor. of Antim. Kirchringius, Eiig. ed p. 58. 
' Ccelum Terrse, p. 11.8 ; Flaminelli 8u)ntniila. 

The Gross Work. 451 

nothing else but extracting water from the earth and re- 
turning it again, so long and so often until the earth is 
completely putrefied ; for by elevation of the mois- 
ture the body is heated and dried, and by returning it 
again it is cooled and moistened ; by the continuation 
of which successive operations it is brought to corrupt 
and to lose its Form, and for a season to remain 
dead.^ This then is the true intention and manner 
of working to supply the right conditions for attract- 
ing the Divine Seed, by action and re-action raising 
successively actives by passives, and, vice versa, pas- 
sives by actives, until the spiritual ability is complete. 

For wliat one doth concoct t'otber -will drive away ; 

But if thou canst each work perform apart, 

And knowest them afterwards to reconcile, 

Then thou art master of a princely Art. 

The very success will thy hopes beguile ; 

Thou hast all Nature's works ranked on a file, 

And all her treasures at command dost keep ; 

On thee the Fates will ne^er dare but smile. 

No Mystery is now for thee too deep : 

Th' art Nature's darling whether dost wake or sleep. 

Pardon my plainness, of the Art, thou knowest 

It was the fruit of my untame desire 

To profit many ; and, without a boast, 

No man above my candor shall aspire. 

My zeal was kindled by Minerva's Fire.^ 

But for an explanation of the whole difficulty, adds 
the same author, in his Ojjeii Entrance, attend to these 
instructions — Take four parts of our Fiery Dragon, 
wdiich bears in his belly the Magic Steel, and conjoin 
to nine parts of our Loadstone, that by a violent con- 
cussion they may be reduced into a mineral w^ater; re- 
ject the superfluous scum which sw^ims upon it ; leave 
the Shell and take the Kernel ; and purge thrice with 
Salt and with Fire : which will be easy to do, if Sa- 
turn have chanced to regard his beauty in the glass of 
Mars. — Hence comes the Chamelion which is our 
Chaos, in which all the Arcana are contained ; not in 
act as yet, but in virtue.^ — Non igitur externus solis 

/ 1 De Trans. Metal. 

/ aW 2 Eii-en^us, Hipley Revived, verses in fine. 
3 Introitus Aportus, cap. vii. 
G G 2 

4.')2 Hermetic Practice. 

coelestis calor est qui profuiidum terroe calefacit sed 
potius solis terresti'is iiniatus calor ; duplex enim est 
calor, unus reverberationis qui externus est, alter influx- 
ionis et penetratioiiis, qui internus est, de quo jam lo- 
quor, cujus natura est vivificare augmentare conservare 
per sustentaculum radicalis humoris in hoc igne con- 

tenti.^ , . is . . 

Which \ulcanic action, to destroy life andAmaintain 
it, Democritus before all, and as it were pyrographically, 
poui'trays, as — Drawing the fixed Brass out bodily, in- 
structs this Abderite, thou shalt compose a certain ob- 
long tongue, and placing it again upon the coals, stir 
Vulcan into it ; now irradiating with the Fossil Salt, 
now with the incessant Attic Ochre, adorning now the 
shoulder and the breast of Paphia till she shall appear 
more manifestly beautiful, and, throwing the glau(j^s lOi 
veil aside, shall appear entirely Golden. Perchance ' 
it was when Paris gazed on such a Venus, he did pre- 
fer her both to Juno and Minerva.^ 

This evidence may suffice for the present occasion, 
which is to promote inquiry rather than pursue it. 
For when the inquirer has learned how he ought to 
begin, having increased also his natural store ol' incli- 
nation and faith by practice in equal companionship 
and reciprocal benefaction, he will not despair; and 
even though the riddle should appear ever so intricate 
at first, it will solve itself at every stage, opening into 
new prospects within the veil of life. Labour to know 
causes, advises the philosopher ; he that seeks ra- 
tiovally finds the true end, not otherwise ; for such a 
conduct conciliates Minerva, and at her behest Jove 
prospers the undertaking. Everything depends upon 
the Motive, which is the true spiritual ferment ; and 
according to the virtue of the fermenting principle is 
the result obtained. 

Sic fiiiis ab origine pendet. 

The end depends from the beginning ; and as the 

^ Nuvsement, Sal Lumeu, the Latiu of Conibachius. 

'^ In Flammelli Summula, Quae ex Democrito coUeguutur. 

The Gross Work. 453 

vine draws its sap from the foeculent impure earth, 
and yields a fluid fruit, wiiich by the fermentive art 
is turned into wine, spiritualised, and advanced into 
a more permanent form of being; so, in the Herme- 
tic art, the philosophic matter, drawn in part from the 
heterogeneous air and defiled breath of vitality, is puri- 
fied by successive interchanging of ferments, fretted, 
dissolved, and rectified into a consummate and immortal 
Form of Light. But Nature halts many times before 
this final rest, at each stage offering the fruits of her 
conceptive imagination to allure ; if the artist be am- 
bitious, however, and a true philosopher, he will ac- 
cept of none of these, but will proceed, sacrificing 
all the intermediate benefits, again and again tortur- 
ing her, and, with relentless hands, slaying the first- 
born offspring until the Divine Perfection is attained. 
— For other foundation can no man lay, as says the 
Apostle, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, 
silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble ; every 
man's work shall be made manifest : for the Day shall 
declare it, because it shall be revealed by Fire ; and the 
Fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 
If any man's work abide which he hath built therc- 
upou, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work 
shall be burned, he shall suffer loss : but he himself 
shall be saved ; yet so as by Fire. Know ye not that 
ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God 
dwelleth in you ? If any man defile the Tem])le of 
God, him shall God destroy ; for the Temple of God 
is holy, which Temple ye are.^ 

It is vain to look in expectation, or believe ourselves 
in the hereditary possession, of a treasure, without so 
much as opening or suspecting even the casket in 
which it is shut up. The common elements of Nature 
obscure their Divine Original, and Chemistry and all 
our experimental physics drive it forcibly without 
the means of Identification. Yet as the experienced 

' 1 Corinthians, iii. 11 — 17. 

454 Hermetic Practice. 

Chemist knows how, by a skilful application of his art, 
to analyse the common elements, and distil them to 
a high virtue and strength of refinement, so the Alche- 
mists long since have taught by a more subtle aj)- 
paratus and artifice, and tests more cogent than all, 
to rectify the Universal Element, and compress its in- 
visible vapour into a tangible Form. By applying the 
proper voluntary corrosive they teach to obliterate its de- 
filements ; by gentleness to mollify its Durity ; by bene- 
ficence to sweeten its acerbity ; by justice to moderate 
its intensity, and to irradiate it with hope, truth, beauty, 
and universal intellection ; supplanting the sensual do- 
minion, and rectifying, until finally, by an actual sub- 
version of the selfhood, they made their Sublimate 

Thus he who, like Qidipus, is able to solve the 
Enigma of the Sphinx ; in other words, to penetrate 
rationally the darkened essence of his natural under- 
standing, will, by conversion illuminating its obscurity, 
cause it to become lucid throughout, and to be no 
longer what it was before. — For Mind is the Key of 
this Hermetic Enigma, and no sooner does it attain 
to Self Knowledge, by proper inquiry within, than the 
Efficient proceeds outwards to image its motive in 
operation, so that)^which before lay in speculation only 
is carried out in Life. But it is not until the right 
Motive is discovered, and until the mundification of the 
/ Spirit is completed in both kinds, and all things are 

0^1 reduced to a crystalline diaphaneity, that the Philoso- 
' ' phic Work has been said truly to begin. For, as was 
before observed, if any permanent confection is made 
or suffered to take place before-hand, the immature 
offspring does not abide. 

He that would seek Tincture niost specious 
Must needly avoid all things Avild and vicious. 
The philosopher's worke doe not begin 
Till all things be pure without and within.* 

* XovtoiTs Ordinal. t"i[). iv. 



Of the Philosophic or Subtle Work. 

Omnia in omnibus primum, omni Tertio (ex omni pri- 
mo secundo) omnia in omnibus primum secundum, ut inde omnia 
in omnibus, et omnia, catholice, aguosceret, cognosceret ac pos- 
sideret. — Enigma Kuhnrath, Amph. Sap. 

AS there are three reigns or grand distinctive dis- 
tributions of the kingdoms of Nature, so we are 
informed that in the Philosophic Work, preceding her, 
there is a threefold order of legitimate operation and 
a relation of Causal sequences^ which merits especial 
note. For these three operations, which are in fact 
so many degrees through which the Spirit passes from 
conception to manifestation, are perplexed by the 
Adepts in their records, and reserved strictly under 
the Master Key of their Dilemma, in order that the 
mysteries of this most venerable science might not 
be discovered to the profane. And shall we, who 
have hitherto presumed so far on their indifference as 
to break the preliminary signets and unloose so many 
covertures of occult learning, more audacious still, 
approach those final cerements unannealed, and with 
a full discovering hand expose before all indiscrimi- 
nately the Art of simple Nature, which the ancients 
kept so holily, and which the Wisest in modern times 
have deemed it unprofitable to reveal? The unwor- 
thy alone would have it so ; the intelligent lovers of 
truth would bewail nothing more than a desecration 
of it in incapable hands ; nor will they be offended or 
grudge the additional pains which a conscientious 
reserve may occasion them to discover, by a theoretic 
conduct, the ultimate Art of Life. 

The tradition of the Preliminary Practice, as it has 
been delivered by each one following his own guide 
independently, may be regarded as it were a track in 

456 Hermetic Practice. 

the sands easily changeable, and where we ought to 
conduct ourselves rather by the polar star-light than 
by any footsteps which are seen implanted there. Be- 
sides the confusion of the tracks which the many 
wayfarers have left is so great, and one finds so many 
different paths and wilful deviations, that it is almost 
impossible not to be led astray from the right road, 
which the Star alone points out for all and each one 
by his proper sight beholding it. The wilful con- 
fusion of the Hermetic doctrine has doubtless checked 
many aspii'ants ; some in the beginning, others in the 
middle of their philosophic career, have been disap- 
pointed ; many even with a perfect knowledge of the 
preliminary work, and having the true Matter in Hand 
also and means of purification, are said to have fal- 
tered in defect of the ultimate theory whereon to pro- 
ceed ; some, even when they understood this, having 
already approached through much labour and contem- 
plation towards the end of their journey, having the 
Final Purpose also in Mind, hav^e been entangled by 
the snares and pitfalls which their predecessors had 
dug in the midway between them and the fulfilment 
of their destined course. I vow sincerely to you, 
says Eudoxus, in that introduction of his to the Six 
Keys, that the practice of our Art is the most difficult 
thing in the world, not in regard to its operations, but 
in respect of the difficulties which are in it, to learn it 
distinctly from the books of the philosophers. For 
if, on the one side, it is called with reason a recreation 
and play of children ; on the other, it requires in those 
who search for the Irut/i a profound knowledge of 
the princi})les and of the operations of Nature in the 
Three Kinds : Thus Norton says — 

GTreate neede hatli he to be a clerke 
That would discerne tliis Subtill "Werke : 
He must kuow hys first filosophie, 
If he trust to come by Alkiiiiie. 

It is a great point to find out the True Matter and 
proper Subject of this work ; even for this we must 

The Subtle Work. 457 

pierce through a thousand obscure veils wherewith it 
has been overspread : we must distinguish it by its 
proper idea and name, among a miUion of pseudo- 
nymes and abstruse appellations, whereby the Adepts 
have chosen to express it : we must learn to under- 
stand the properties of it, in order to judge of the pos- 
sibility of the miracles alleged ; and before we can 
imagine into the abstruse Original of Nature, we must 
reflect profoundly and patiently, in order to discrimi- 
nate the secret Fire of the Wise, which is the only 
agent granted by Art to purify and dispose Nature to 
a sacrifice of her last life. This, we must know, and 
the Divine Law that succeeds to animate her by a re- 
volutionary course. We must learn further how to 
convert and congeal the new-born Quintessence or 
mercurial water into an incombustible fixed unguent, 
and, by the entire revolution of its body, to awaken 
the occult Light to Life. 

And to effect this, moreover, adds our author of The 
Triumph, you must make the conversion of the Ele- 
ments, the separation and the reunion of the Three 
Principles ; you must learn how to make thereof a 
white Mercury and a citrine Mercury, and you must 
fix this IMercury and nourish it with its own blood, to 
the end that it may be converted into the fixed Sul- 
phur, which is the Stone of Philosophers. 

These are the fixed principles of the Hermetic Art, 
in which there is no variableness but in their disco- 
very, which, having already discussed, we proceed to 
redeem our promise of a more subtle application to 
practice ; and this, without incurring too great a re- 
sponsibility on ourselves, may we trust be intelligibly 
conceived from such succeeding evidence as it is expe- 
dient only to afford. 

We read, in the Egyptian Fable of Isis and Osiris, 
that they were sister and brother, and being conjoined 
in marriage likewise, that their kingdom was cruelly 
divulsed and usurped by their brother Typhon, who 
in a malignant and envious spirit killed Osiris, cut his 


458 Hermetic Practice. 

body into pieces and scattered his members to the 
fom* winds. Isis however, recollecting these, preserved 
them in a chest which floated on the Nilotic waters in 
safety until the period arrived for a restitution ; when 
the king was thenceforth resuscitated, and came forth 
invulnerable fi-om his ashes, and far more powerful 
than he was before, to the enjoyment of his dominions 
and rightful throne. 

Now in this fable, already explained in part, Plu- 
tarch, with the Adepts also being witnesses, is pro- 
foundly couched not only the principiating action of 
Intellect but the methodical art of the same subtle An- 
tecedent to bring itself, by begetting a supernatural 
offspring, into natural effect. 

And since it is requisite, according to the ancient 
Metaphysics, to consider the doctrine of Causes from 
its Principle, and causes are said to subsist in a four- 
fold respect, one of which they assert to be essence, asd 
iit^ the subsisting as a certain particular thing and 
cause and principle, form the First Why ; but the 
second cause is matter and that which subsists as a 
subject; A Third is, that whence the beginning of mo- 
tion is derived ; and The Fourth is a cause opposite to 
this, viz., that for the sake of which the inquiry sub- 
sists, and the Good which is the end of generation.^ 

Hence, referring this Peripatetic scheme of investi- 
gation to the art of Wisdom for realisation, we may 
conceive the whole intellectual relationship ; and how 
the speculative Motive of the First Cause is finally 
produced in reversionary order from the Third, in 
whom it becomes efficient, by the Second into the 
Fourth ; as it were a triplicate f eing of Thought, Will, 
and Understanding, which, resting in the sole vision of 
its only begotten perfection, desires not to surpass 
itself; but, perceiving itself indeed to be the Final Object 
of its own First Cause, is good, according to the words 
of the Stagyrite, and the end of spiritual generation. 

These, then, are the universal principles which it has 

^ See Aristotle's Metaphysics, book i. 

The Subtle Work. 459 

sometimes been deemed expedient in practice to re- 
present, and tliese are their several relations: 

Primus dicatur in quo sensus domiiiatur. 
Sensibus aequato gaudet Natura Secundo. 
Tertius excedit, cujus tolerantia Isedit. 
Destructor sensus nescit procedere Quarto. 

And, as respects the operation of these, viz. of the 
natural, unnatural, and the supernatural Fires, they 
should be quickly lighted, says the Adept, ^ lest one 
should put out the other, or this should stifle that : 
over all which the Fourth, partaking of the aerial fiery 
element, supervenes for the accomphsliment of the 
work. And, as respects the Vessels, the First indeed 
may be considered to be opaque, the Second less so, 
and the Tliird still less so. This last containing truly 
Him who is to be born ;^as the embryo in the mother 
is protected with a triple covering and sustained within 
until mature, even so is the metaphysical offspring 
said to be involved : which, by the birth of Horus in 
the Egyptian Fable, is accurately represented, when, 
Typhon being vanquished, the lawful empire is re- 
sumed. — Triuna universalis essentia, quae Jehovah ap- 
pellatur et ex Uno, divina essentia, dein ex Duobus, Deo 
et homine, ex Tribus, personis videlicet, ex Quatuor, 
utpote tribus personis et una Divina Essentia, quem- 
admodum etiam ex Quinque tribus personis, et duabus 
Essentiis nimirum, divinis et simul humanus est.'^ 

Hence the Divine Monarchy consists, and is esta- 
bhshed ; the primary principles whereof, as here an- 
nounced, are in their representation famihar ; but of 
the form of the Fourth in that burning Fiery Furnace, 
we may conceive only from what is written. — Behold 
I will send you FAijah, the prophet, before the coming 
of the Great and terrible Day of the Lord, and he 
shall turn the hearts of the Fatliers unto the Children, 
and the hearts of the Children to their Fathers, lest I 
come and strike the earth with a curse. ^ But, say the 

1 Maieri Synibola Aureae Mensae, p. 256. 

'^ Aquarium Sapientum in Mus. Herm. p. 112. 

2 Malaclii, iv. 5, 6. 


460 Hermetic Practice. 

Adepts, Naliiscstjcnn Elias Artista ^ Elias, the artist, 
is bom already ; and this is he that was appointed a 
forerunner, baptizing with the water unto repentance, 
who has foreshown all things in his apparition to the 
wise, whose birth is miraculous in the hypostatic 
transfiguration, and prior to the Divine Light, 

AVlioin to seeke it availeth right nought, 

Til] the white medicine be fully wrought. 

Alsoe both medicins in their beginninge 

Have one manner of vessel and workinge, 

As well for the AVhite as also for the Eed, 

Till all quick things be made dead ; 

When vessels and forme of operation 

Shall chaitnye in matter, figure, and graduation. 

But my herte quaketh, my hand is tremblinge, 

When I write of this most selcouth thinge. 

Hermes brought forth a true sentence and blounte, 

AVheu he said, Ignis et Azoth tihi sujfficiunt? 

It will be unnecessary now to remind the attentive 
reader of w^hat has been before explained. Nature, 
indeed, provides us with the foundations of Wisdom, 
and materials wherewith to construct her immortal 
/ Edifice of Light ; but it is the work only of a Master 

lCA^^ Mason, of Grand Architects, as the I/odgc. ha s it, to 
erect structures in the air. The task is too onerous 
for inferior craftsmen.^ It is the part of Mind alone 
to represent herself in this w^ay by her own reflective 
energy, to embody the ethereal Image, and chisel it out 
in Light. — O blessed watery Form ! that dissolvest the 
Elements ! Now it behoves us with this watery soul 
to possess ourselves of a sulphurous Form, and to 
minele the same with our Acetum. For when bv the 
power of the Water the composition is dissolved, it is 
the Key of the Restoration. And wdicn thou shalt 
pour forth thy Fire upon the Foliated Sulphur, con- 
tinues the Master, the boundary of hearts {i. e. the 
Final Cause) does enter in above it, and is w^ashed 
in the same, and the mortal matter thereof is ex- 
tracted. Then i,s he transformed in his tincture. Our 

1 Introit. Apertus. cap xiii. 

^ Norton's Ordinal, cap. v. 

" .tjgii L'aililo I- JMivnua l of Froo Maauuiv, jiaii iii. p. 17. 

The Subtle Work. 461 

Son the King takes his tincture from the fire and 
death even, and darkness and the waters flee away. 
The Dragon shuns the sunbeams which dart through 
the crevices, our dead Son Uves. The King comes forth 
from the Fire, and rejoices with his spouse, and the 
occult treasury is laid open. The Son, already vivified, 
is become a warrior in the Fire, of tincture superexcel- 
lent. For this Son is the treasury, bearing even (in 
his hand) the Philosophic Matter.^ — Now then bring 
ye gifts of salutation to the Rain ; that, not being 
withh olden, it may descend upon you ; and to the dew, 
if it has received from you gold and silver. Open 
your eyes, and lift up your horns, ye that are ca- 
pable to comprehend the Elect One; before whose 
feet all his antecedents fall away, and are consumed. 
Those mountains which thou hast seen, the mountain 
of copper, the mountain of silver, the mountain of 
gold, the mountain of fluid metal, and the mountain 
of lead, all these in the presence of the Elect One 
shall be like a honeycomb before the Fire ; and like 
water descending from above upon the mountains, and 
shall become debilitated before his feet. All these 
things shall be rejected when the Elect One shall 
appear in the presence of the Lord of Spirits.'^ —Behold, 
I will send my Alessenger, and he shall prepare the 
way before me : and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall sud- 
denly come to his Temple, even the messenger of the 
covenant, whom ye delight in : behold he shall come, 
saith the Lord of Hosts. But who shall abide the day 
of his coming? And who shall stand when he ap- 
peareth ? For he is like a Rejiner's Fire, and X\\ie ful- 
lers' soap : and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of 
silver : and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge 
them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the 
Lord an offering in righteousness.^ 

This was He whom the Patriarchs and Hebrew 
prophets looked for, and the Ethnic philosophers, in 

1 Tractatus Aureus, cap. ii. 

2 Book of Enoch, xcix. 

3 Malachi, iii. 1, 2, 3, 4. 

462 Hermetic Practice. 

anticipation, adored ; who in the sacred humanity 
of Jesus Christ was at last made manifest ; whom the 
Apostles and early Christian Fathers, Saints, and Mar- 
tyrs testify of, and wdth understanding worshipped ; 
even — That which was from the Beginning, which they 
had heard, and seen with their eyes, w^hich they had 
looked upon, and their hands had handled, of the 
Word of Life ; for the Life w as made manifest, and 
they had seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto 
us that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and 
was manifested unto them.^ And noiv also the axe is 
laid unto the root of the trees : therefore every tree 
which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn dowm, and 
cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with Water 
unto repentance : but He that cometh after me is 
mightier than I, whose shoes 1 am not worthy to bear: 
He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and wdth 
Fire : Whose fan is in his Hand, and he will throughly 
purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner ; 
but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.'^ 
O mysteries truly sacred! exclaims the Bishop of 
Alexandria in holy transport, O pure Light; at the 
Light of torches, the veil that covers God and Heaven 
falls off. I am holy now that I am initiated. It 
is the Lord himself ivho is the Hicrophdnta. He sets 
his seal upon the Adept, whom he illumi//ates with his 
beams: and whom, as a recompense for faith, he will 
recommend to the eternal love of the Father. These 
are the orgies of my mysteries, come ye and be re- 

Thus the Mysteries of Antiquity changed their 

form only to appear more resplendent when Chris- 

>-^, tianity came to be the prevailing religion ; when bap- 

^\<^ tismal regeneration was an effectual rite, and the 

S't'^ Eucharist a true isitratiefl ; when Faith, by humilia- 

^ tion under the exemplar} cross of Christ, brought Him 

1 Pirst Epist. Gen. St. John, i. St. Panl to the Hebrews, i. 

2 St. Matthew, iii. 10, &c. 

•■' Clemens Alexandrinns. See De Septchene.s, l^olig. of the 
Greeks, chap. ii. 

The Subtle Work. 463 

forth anew in each regenerate hfe, identically perfect 
in all things, immortal, and transcending every pre- 
cedent revelation of the Light; as St. Paul, in his 
Epistle to the Hebrews, also bears witness : — God, 
who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in 
times past unto the Fathers by the prophets, hath in 
these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he 
hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he 
made the Worlds ; who being the brightness of his 
glory and the express image of his person, and up- 
holding all things by the Word of his power, when he 
had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right 
hand of the Majesty on High.^ 

Meditate, therefore, says the Theosophist, and study 
theosophically to reduce the Ternary by the Quater- 
nary, through the rejection of the Binary, to the sim- 
plicity of the Monad ; that thy body, soul, and spirit 
be gathered to rest in the name of Jesus. ^ — Learn to 
unite the Principles of our Chaos to a new Life, and 
they will be regenerated by Water and the Spirit. 
These two are in a 1 things, and each has in himself, 
as Trismegistus says, the seed of his own regeneration.^ 
Proceed then patiently but not manuaUii. The work 
is performed by an invisible Artist ; for there is a se- 
cret incubation of the Spirit of God upon Nature ; you 
must only see that the outward heat fails not, but 
with the subject itself you have no more to do than 
the mother with the child that is in her womb. The 
two former principles perform all. The Spirit makes 
use of the water to purge and wash his body, and he 
will bring it at last to a celestial immortal constitu- 
tion. Does any one think this impossible ? further in- 
quires the Adept. — Remember, that in the incarnation 
of Jesus Christ, the Quaternarius, or four elements, as 
some call them, were united to their eternal Unity and 
Ternarius. Three and Four make seven. This Sep- 

St. Paul to the Hebrews, i. 1, &c. 
j^tknratli Amp. Sap. Etern. in medio. 
2 See the Divine Pfemander, Sermon on tlie Mount of Regene- 


464 Hermetic Practice 

tenary is the true Sabaoth, the rest of God, into which 
the creature shall enter. This is the best and plainest 
manuduction that I can give you : in a word, Salvation 
is nothing else but a Transmutation^ — of the compo- 
nent principles of hfe in the circulation. And this is 
the true metempsychosis which has been the source 
of many errors in the common acceptancy ; but 
which, in the Ancient Schools of Divinity, signified nei- 
ther more nor less than a transmigrating of the human 
Identity out of this animal terrene existence through 
the ethereal elements of its original formation. W^^^l/i^^ 
elements are the universal fundamentals of nature ; 
but in the Human Form alone are found to attain to 
that supremacy of Reason wdiich re-enters to its First 
Cause ; when, by a Triplicate growth of Light in the 
Understanding, becoming consciously allied, It ema- 
nates a Fourth Form, truthful, godlike, being the 
express image of its motive magically portrayed. 

I. In the beginning was the Word, 
II. And the "Word was with God, 
III. And the Word was- God. 

All things were made by Him, and without Him 
was not any thing made that was made. In Him was 
Life, and the life was the Light of Men. And the 
Light shineth in Darkness ; and the Darkness compre- 
hendeth it not. 

IV. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 

The same came for a Wit/iess, to bear w itness of the 
Light, that all men through him might htlieve. He 
was not that Light, but w^as sent to bear Witness of 
that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world ;'^ — which in the 
Saviour was perfected ; one ray of which, intrinsically 
permeating, is able to cleanse this leprous life of ours, 

^ Lumeu de Lumiue, p. 92. 
^ tSt. John's Gospel, i. 

The Subtle Work. 465 

and convert it to the virtue and perfect potency of its 

And whosoever in any other Light or Form of Light 
should look for the First Cause, or for any other Final 
Cause in this, except the First, would seek contrary to 
reason, against the divine ordinance, and against him- 
self; for nothing else is worth seeking, or can terminate 
in good, but will be the fruit of the Fall only, which 
Adam took upon himself; the mortal consequences of 
which are hourly expiated by our race, and which no 
one, unless he were insane, haply would labour to in- 
crease. The rule of Wisdom, in the verification of her 
Light, is absolute, and though intermediates apply 
themselves naturally for the generation, they are re- 
jected in the accomplishment ; as it is explained — Non 
fit ad monadis simplicitatem reductio, nisi rejiciatur 
binarius, non enim ^um Jehovah unio nisi prius a 
teipso devitatio et tui abnegatio. — For as the absolute 
Identification in theory is not conceived but by self ab- 
lation and avoidance, so, practically, neither is Nature 
reduced to the Monadic simplicity of her Element but 
by rejection of her Binary conception. For if in the 
Duad the divine Idea were suffered immediately to 
bring forth, an imperfect offspring would result, and 
discordant by predominance of either generating ex- 
treme, as in this life is manifest ; but by carrying the 
circulation upward through a Third principle for repro- 
bation, it. is rectified, overcome in its proper voU- 
tion, and dying, (if the divine rule be thenceforth fol- 
lowed,) is raised again by reversion, and through a 
diligent analysis passing, as it were, from heaven to 
earth and from earth to heaven, it receives the 
strength of superiors and of inferiors, to make mani- 
fest the Flower of Intellect retrospectively to its Ar- 
chetypal Source, according to the Hermetic Riddle : 

Omnia in omnibus peimum, omni Teetio teadidit, ex omni 
peimo secundo, omnia in omnibus primum secundum, ut inde 
omnia in omnibus, et omnia catholice a&nosceket, cognos- 
oeeet ac possideeet. 

H H 

466 Hermetic Practice. 

The First all things in all gave the First Second all 


Third all ; that he might discover, know, and possess all 

THINGS universally. 

And this, it would seem, is the CathoHc Art of 
Reason investigating her First Source, which the Chal- 
daic oracle no less orderly pursues. 

Where the Paternal Mouad is ? 

The Monad is enlarged which generates Two, 

For the Duad sits beside him and glitters with intellectual sections, 

And to govern all things and to order everything not ordered. 

For in the whole world shineth the Triad over which the Monad 

This order is the beginning of aU sections : 
For the mind of the Father said that all things be cut into Three 

— "Wliose will assented ; and then all things were divided. 
And there appeared in it (the Triad) A^irtue, Wisdom, and multi- 

scient Verity : 
This way floweth the Form of the Triad, being pre-existent, not 

the Fii'st (Essence) but where they are measured. 
For thou must conceive that all things serve these three Principles. 
Their First Course is sacred, but in the middle another, and the 

third Aerial wliich cherisheth the Earth in Fire ; 
And Fountain of all Fountains, 

The Matrix containing all tilings, thence abundantly springs forth 
The generation of multi-various matter ; 
Whence is extracted a Prester the Flower of glowing Fire, 
Flashing into the cavities of the world, for all things from thence 

begin to extend downwards their admirable beams ^ 

Such is the recreant progress of mind, ascending 
and descending throughout life, for the investigation 
of its manifold resources and powers ; where there is 
an exact machinery to be observed, a method which, 
though simple, is difficult for common sense to con- 
ceive aright — a mainspring exquisitely tempered, an 
enduring pivot, wheel within wheel revolving vitally. 
Mercury, Sulphur, and an immortal Salt. And as 
steel draws the loadstone and the loadstone in like 
manner turns towards steel, so is it with the sepa- 
rated principles of will and understanding in their 

' Chaldaie Oracles, i. 

The Subtle Work. 467